Crime & Courts

15-year-old charged in fatal August shooting of Columbia teen

Columbia Police Department charged a 15-year-old with the death of another 15-year-old from an August shooting.

The department arrested the teen Friday afternoon, charging him with murder in the homicide of Jalen Qadir Islam. Because the teen suspect is a juvenile he is unidentified.

On Aug. 12, police were alerted to gun fire near the 2100 block of Slighs Avenue by the department’s ShotSpotter technology, according to a statement. The shots were fired near the intersection of Colonial Drive and Harden Street in the Booker Washington Heights community.

When police arrived they found a car crashed into a tree. Authorities found Islam suffering from multiple injuries inside the car. When paramedics arrived they discovered the Islam was shot.

The teen died at the scene of the crash after suffering a gunshot wound to the torso, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said after an autopsy was performed.

The vehicle the 15-year-old was driving was reported stolen from Florence, police said. Police seized and examined the vehicle for evidence.

Columbia investigators believe that Islam and the accused teen knew each other and that Islam was shot after an argument.

A hearing with the department and the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who will prosecute the case, will determine if the juvenile suspect will be tried as an adult, police said.

Police also charged the suspect with possessing a weapon during a violent crime. He is currently housed in the juvenile section at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

Speaking with WACH in August, Islam’s father, Qadir Abdul Islam, said his son “was a very special individual.”

“He had his ups and downs, but he didn’t deserve to be taken at such a young age,” the elder Islam said. “I never thought that he would die this way. He’s supposed to bury me. I’ve cried every day.”

Islam’s obituary said he went to Richland County schools “where he had an impact on a lot of his peers”

“Jalen loved to play basketball and hanging out with family and friends. He also liked music and fireworks was his favorite,” the obituary said.

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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.