Columbia, SC (WLTX)- A community tip led Richland County Deputies and the Columbia Police Department to a funeral at Bible Way Baptist Church on Atlas Road Wednesday evening.
"There was a funeral of a gang member in a gang shooting yesterday," said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. "We were told there may be some more gang violence and so our gang unit went and intercepted as they came into the parking lot."
Deputies arrested 19-year old Isaac Watson on probation violations and 19-year old Shamari Jones on two counts of unlawful carrying of a pistol. Sheriff Leon Lott says they pair entered the parking lot of the church, in an SUV armed with pistols, to attend the funeral.
"For some of those young people that were here, yesterday was probably the first time they were in church in years," said Calvin Jackson, Chief Operating Officer at Bible Way Church.
Jackson says the church has a responsibility to be a place where people can turn to in a time of need.
"It reminds us even more of our role because if we are not doing it and we are not meeting the needs and stepping up to the plate, and saying to young people where you have over 1,200 people that there is a better way, then who will?" said Jackson.
Deputies and Police say education is key when figuring out how to end the vicious cycle of violence.
"Kids, we have to educate them about why not to get in a gang and why they shouldn't. The common denominator of all gangs is you are going to end up in a cemetery or in jail," said Lott.