Justin Bernard Singleton (Image: Orangeburg County Detention Center)
Orangeburg, SC (WLTX) - A suspect has been arrested and charged with murder in the killing of a South Carolina State University Student.
Justin Bernard Singleton, 19, was taken into custody early Saturday morning in connection with the death of 20-year-old Brandon Robinson, according to agents with the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
Singleton was booked at the Orangeburg-Calhoun Regional Detention Center. A judge denied him bond at a mid-morning hearing.
Robinson was killed around 1:30 p.m. Friday outside the Andrew Hugine Suites, an on-campus dormitory at the Orangeburg college. An arrest warrant states that Singleton and Robinson were arguing when Singleton pulled out a gun and shot Robinson in the neck.
Paramedics took the victim to a local hospital where he later died.
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South Carolina State Vice-President of External Affairs and Communication Sonya Bennett told News19 Saturday that Singleton is also currently enrolled as a student at the school.
SC State University Police Chief Mernard Clarkson had said Friday that officers had identified a person of interest in the case, but did not name the man. However, officials with Claflin University, a college located adjacent to SC State, issued an alert to students less than two hours after the shooting. News19 obtained a copy of that alert from a source, and in the bulletin, Singleton was listed as a suspect.
Both schools were placed on lockdown for several hours, but those restrictions were lifted by Friday evening.
Campus police also had said they were searching for four suspects in total, but it's unclear if there's still an active search for any remaining persons. In an e-mail to the Associated Press, SLED spokesman Thom Berry said the investigation was continuing.
Meanwhile, the South Carolina State community is mourning the loss of Robinson, who was a member of the school's football team. In a statement released Saturday, the school said Robinson was a junior majoring in industrial engineering technology.
"We are extraordinarily sad about this," said SC State President Thomas Elzey, who choked up as he spoke at a news conference announcing Robinson's death. "He's a very nice young man...and it hurts. It hurts us all."
Elzey said grief counselors would be available to students.
Robinson had joined the team as a walk-on, and the school is planning a moment of silence during a school basketball game Saturday night.
"Brandon was a fine young man who was paying his way through college," said SC State Head Football Coach Buddy Pough in a statement. "All he wanted to do was play football for the university. It's a tragic situation, one from which we all must learn."
An Orangeburg native, Singleton had attended nearby Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School.
"He's such a great kid," said Tommy Brown, the athletics director at Orangeburg-Wilkinson. "He's done so much, and he had a great future in front of him."