Crime & Courts

Sheriff: Arrest of teen in Columbia double murder another example of teen, gun problem

Local and federal investigators arrested a man in the double murder of two teens, the Richland County sheriff announced.

Deputies with the fugitive task force of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and U.S. Marshals arrested Kevin Duane Greene III in Atlanta, Sheriff Leon Lott announced at a Wednesday news conference.

Greene is accused of shooting three Columbia teens off Broad River Road on Aug. 8. One of the victims survived.

Greene got into the teens’ car for marijuana, investigators said. He pulled a gun as they drove, shooting all three and jumping out of the car as it was moving.

A person called police after seeing a car wreck near the 100 block of Forestview Circle in the Forest at Harbison neighborhood, which borders Harbison State Forest, according to deputies. Police arrived and found three teenagers shot in the car. Paramedics rushed the teens to the hospital.

Tyson Angelo Anderson, 19, was dead on the scene. Carlos Bethel, 18, died in the hospital last week. The third victim lived but “his life is changed forever,” Lott said.

Monday, police in south Fulton County booked Greene, a 19-year-old with connections to Columbia, at a Fulton County jail, where he’s awaiting extradition, jail records show. When authorities bring Greene back to Columbia, they’ll serve him with warrants for two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Lott said at least two of the teens had connections to a gang.

“I’ve said this plenty of times that guns, drugs and gangs will end you up in one of two places,” Lott said, “either in the cemetery or in the prison. ... We’ve got to convince these young people that they have to stay away from gangs, they got to stay away from guns and they got to stay away from drugs. That’s the common denominator that we see too often.”

Anderson and Bethel’s death were the eighth and ninth murders of 2019 in the county’s jurisdiction, Lott said. That’s almost a 50 percent drop in murders for the same time period in 2018, a year that reach a decade high for killings. Burglaries and vehicle break-ins are also down, according to Lott.

Lott credited the reduction to focusing on “the 5 percent that commits 80 percent of the crime” and putting the people in that 5 percent who are charged in prison. Being fully staffed with over 700 gun-toting deputies also contributed to the number of murders going down, Lott said. Focusing on community involvement with reducing crime also played a crucial part.

Stopping the scourge of teen gun violence begins in communities, Lott said.

“We have made some progress and we’ll continue to make some progress, but it’s just unfortunate that we have some young people between the ages of 14 to 28 that are living and dying by the gun. .... We have to do something about changing the attitude of that generation.”

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.