Crime & Courts

Update: 8 people shot overnight in Columbia’s Vista

Columbia shooting police briefing

Columbia Deputy Police Chief Melron Kelly briefs reporters on a shooting in the Vista that left "multiple victims" injured on Saturday around 2 a.m.
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Columbia Deputy Police Chief Melron Kelly briefs reporters on a shooting in the Vista that left "multiple victims" injured on Saturday around 2 a.m.

COLUMBIA, SC Eight people were injured in a shooting early Saturday morning in Columbia’s Vista entertainment district, one of the city’s most popular nightlife spots.

Columbia police tweeted Saturday morning that four men and four women were injured, with their conditions ranging from stable to critical as of around 10 a.m.

Police released surveillance photos of two “vehicles of interest” being sought in connection with the shooting: A black or dark gray Mustang and a BMW. Police believe the people in those vehicles might have information related to the investigation.

Officers received a call of shots fired around 2:12 a.m. Saturday near the corner of Park and Lady streets in the Vista, according to Deputy Chief Melron Kelly.

Kelly said the area was “heavily populated at the time,” with at least a couple dozen people walking in the area.

Nighttime businesses in the area include the Empire Supper Club, Art Bar and Pearlz Oyster Bar.

Kelly said the injuries the victims received ranged from “grazes to critically injured.” Many of those injured were rushed to the hospital by ambulance or private vehicle.

Kelly said Park was closed off between Lady and Gervais streets overnight and that officers would be interviewing those who were walking along the area at that time. Though he did not name any suspects or vehicles that could have been involved in the shooting, he said the interviews with potential witnesses would likely lead to that.

“I just think as the investigation develops, we’ll get leads,” Kelly said. “Someone knows something. This is the heart of downtown Columbia.”

As of Saturday morning, no arrests had been announced.

In a tweet shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday, Columbia police said their investigators “are making tremendous progress. This is a team effort with all hands on deck.” Video cameras in the area have been a valuable tool, they said.

The Vista Guild business association said Saturday morning it had asked all its business owners to provide any video they have from their own security cameras to police.

“The Vista Guild’s thoughts are with the victims of this terrible incident last night, first and foremost,” the Guild wrote in a Facebook post. “We are in frequent communication with the Columbia Police Department, who by all accounts, responded swiftly and is making this a top priority.”

Columbia police plan to hold a news conference at noon Saturday to give updates on the investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 888-CRIME-SC, where you can leave an anonymous tip.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

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