In South Carolina, three teenagers have been charged in connection with a shooting that resulted in the deaths of three classmates and injured another. The incident transpired outside an abandoned residence in Columbia and is believed to have stemmed from a longstanding dispute.
According to the Richland County Sheriff’s Office, 17-year-olds Jahkeem Griffin and Karlos Gibson, along with a 14-year-old male, face charges of murder, attempted murder, and other related crimes. Sheriff Leon Lott, in a press briefing, expressed his dismay over the situation, emphasizing the senselessness of the act and the irrevocable consequences of gun violence.
Reports indicate that the accused approached their victims near an abandoned house in Columbia around 2 p.m. on Sunday and began firing. The victims attempted to escape into the backyard but were pursued and subsequently attacked.
The deceased were identified as Jakobe Fanning, 16; Caleb Wise, 16; and Dre’Von Riley, 17. All of them attended Eau Claire High School. An additional 14-year-old middle school student was wounded in the attack but has since been released from the hospital.
Sheriff Lott pointed out that the altercation between the two groups could be traced back to a burglary that occurred two years prior. The nature and specifics of this disagreement, however, remain undisclosed. It was also revealed that both Griffin and Gibson attended the same high school as the deceased, while the 14-year-old assailant and the injured victim had attended the same middle school.
In response to this tragedy, Eau Claire High School bolstered counseling services and security. District Superintendent Craig Witherspoon labeled the event as “senseless gun violence.”
The sheriff highlighted the issue of firearms being left unsecured in vehicles, making them susceptible to theft. He further expressed his frustration and despair over the recurring theme of youth resorting to violence as a solution to their disagreements.
Both Griffin and Gibson will face trial as adults. A determination is still pending on whether the 14-year-old’s case will remain in the juvenile court system. The trio faces identical charges, including three counts of murder, attempted murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, and possession of a handgun under the age of 18.