The FBI has filed a federal gun charge against one of the suspects in a weekend shooting that injured eight people in Columbia’s Vista district.
Special Agent Craig Januchowski of the FBI filed a criminal complaint Tuesday against Maleik Houseal, charging the 22-year-old with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, which carries a 10-year sentence.
The complaint alleges that Houseal violated federal firearms laws Saturday by possessing a firearm after being convicted of a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding a year, and provides new details into the mayhem that rocked the popular nightlife district early Saturday morning.
Houseal is one of four men charged by Columbia police in connection with the shooting, which happened just after 2 a.m. outside the Empire Supper Club on the 900 block of Lady Street.
Surveillance video shows that Houseal was among the people leaving the club and walking down Park Street toward the parking lot between the Empire club and Art Bar just after the club closed at 2 a.m., according to the federal complaint. The video shows Houseal go around the corner of the Empire club and return to Park Street, backing away from the parking lot area.
Houseal then turns around and walks back up Park Strete toward Lady Street, where he is seen on video adjusting a black handgun he had hidden on his person, the complaint states. He again walks down Park Street.
A Ford Mustang is seen on surveillance pulling out of the parking lot between Empire club and Art Bar, stopping before it pulls onto Park Street, the complaint says. As Houseal walks back into sight, shots are fired from the Mustang, which pulls onto Park Street and heads toward Gervais Street.
A second vehicle, a Ford Crown Victoria, follows and a shot is fired from that car as it pulls from the same parking lot onto Park Street and heads toward Gervais Street, the document states. Houseal returns fire to both vehicles, and is seen on video returning to the corner of the Empire Supper Club and ducking down near some chairs outside the club.
A club security guard later found a loaded Ruger 9mm gun that had been stashed in a stack of chairs, the complaint states. The black gun had what appeared to be a small laser sight attached to it.
At the hospital, Houseal waived his Miranda rights and spoke with a Columbia police officer.
Houseal told officers he was walking toward a car outside the club “when he felt tension from people in a car,” the complaint states. He said a person standing beside the car shot at him and then ran toward him.
Houseal told officers he wrestled the gun away from the person as that person returned to the vehicle and fired the gun at the vehicle, according to the complaint. The second vehicle pulled out from behind the first vehicle and struck Houseal, he said.
When asked where the gun was, Houseal told officers he did not know. The complaint notes that Houseal’s account of the incident “does not coincide with the surveillance video.”
Columbia officers swabbed Houseal’s hands for gunshot residue, which has been sent for analysis.
The federal complaint includes part of Houseal’s criminal history, including 2016 convictions in Newberry County for second-degree burglary, third-degree burglary, carrying or displaying firearms in public buildings and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, for which he received a suspended sentence of 30 months in prison and 18 months probation.
The Columbia Police Department said late Tuesday that Houseal had been released from the hospital and jailed on state charges of unlawful possession of a pistol and possession of a weapon by a person convicted of a violent crime.