US rocked by 3 mass shootings during Easter weekend; 2 dead
HAMPTON, S.C. (AP) — Authorities in South Carolina are investigating a shooting at a nightclub early Sunday that wounded at least nine people. It was the second mass shooting in the state and the third in the nation during the Easter holiday weekend.
The shootings in South Carolina and one in Pittsburgh, in which two minors were killed early Sunday, also left at least 31 people wounded.
No one was reported killed in the violence at Cara’s Lounge in Hampton County, roughly 80 miles (130 kilometers) west of Charleston, according to an email from South Carolina’s State Law Enforcement Division, which is investigating the shooting. A phone call to the nightclub was not answered.
In Pittsburgh, two male youths were killed and at least eight people wounded when shots were fired during a party at a short-term rental property. The “vast majority” of the hundreds of people at the party were underage, the city’s Police Chief Scott Schubert told reporters. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the two victims as Jaiden Brown and Mathew Steffy-Ross, both 17.
Investigators believe there were multiple shooters, and Schubert said police were processing evidence at as many as eight separate crime scenes spanning a few blocks around the rental home.
The two shootings come just a day after gunfire erupted at a busy mall in the South Carolina state capital of Columbia, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of Sunday’s nightclub shooting. Nine people were shot, and five people sustained other kinds of injuries while trying to flee the scene at the Columbiana Centre, Columbia Police Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook said Saturday. The victims ranged in age from 15 to 73. None faced life-threatening injuries.
“We don’t believe this was random,” Holbrook said. “We believe they knew each other and something led to the gunfire.”
The only person arrested in the mall shooting so far is Jewayne M. Price, 22, one of three people initially detained by law enforcement as a person of interest. Price’s attorney, Todd Rutherford, told news outlets Sunday that his client fired a gun at the mall, but in self-defense. Rutherford said Price faces a charge of unlawfully carrying a pistol because he legally owned his gun but did not have a permit to carry a weapon.
Columbia police said on Twitter that a judge agreed Sunday to let Price leave jail on a $25,000 surety bond. He was to be on house arrest with an ankle monitor, police said.
“It was unprovoked by him. He called the police, turned himself in, turned over the firearm that was used in this, and gave a statement to the Columbia Police Department,” Rutherford said, according to WMBF-TV. “That is why he got a $25,000 bond.”
Police said the judge will allow Price to travel from home to work during certain hours each day. Price is forbidden from contacting the victims and anyone else involved in the shooting.
South Carolina residents age 21 or older can get a weapons permit, which as of last year allows them to carry weapons openly or concealed. They must have eight hours of gun training and pass a background check that includes fingerprinting.
The three Easter weekend mass shootings are in addition to other gun violence in recent days. Last week, a gunman opened fire in a New York subway car, wounding 10 people. A suspect was arrested the next day. Earlier this month, six people were killed and 12 others wounded in Sacramento, California, during a gunfight between rival gangs as bars closed in a busy downtown area just blocks from the state Capitol.
One week ago, a shooting inside a crowded nightclub in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, left a man and a woman dead and 10 people wounded. And last month, 10 people were shot at a spring break party in Dallas and several others were injured as they tried to escape the gunfire.