State Lawmaker's Niece Wounded in Vista Shooting, Bond Denied for Suspects

Rep. Leon Howard's niece was among the shooting victims.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - South Carolina Representative Leon Howard says his niece, 26-year-old Kristie Logan, was among the eight victims of Saturday's shooting in Columbia's Vista district.

Howard revealed that fact Sunday morning while at a bond hearing at the county jail for three of the suspects charged in connection with the shooting.

During the hearing, John Bates Jr. and Keveas Gallman, both 28, were denied bond. Bates is facing seven counts of attempted murder, while Gallman is facing one count on that charge. The two are also facing other related charges.

Jarvis Tucker, 26, was given $250,000 bond for the one charge he's facing, accessory after the fact. 

A fourth suspect, 22-year-old Maleik Houseal, was wounded in the shooting and is still receiving treatment at the hospital. He's facing weapons charges, but no counts of attempted murder. 

Howard, who represents part of Richland County, said his niece was hit in the knee by a bullet.

"I got a text message about 2:30 in the morning saying she had been shot," Howard said. "It was devastating. I didn’t know the condition of my niece or any other victim involved."

"She’s very traumatized, she was shot, she’s got a long road to recovery," Howard said. "She has a young daughter to care for and now the family’s going to have to step in and fill that void. It’s a very difficult situation seeing her helpless lying in ICU. But still, we’re grateful that the conditions were not any worse than they are now."

Howard says Logan is currently stable, but is still in ICU. Howard says he's glad the judge denied the two suspects facing the most serious charges bond.

"I’m pleased with the decision of the judge because the young men that evoked this sense of violence on the community, we feel that they are a danger to the community," Howard said. "Citizens do not deserve this type of treatment in the community. These guys could have been individuals who could flee to another area and create another sense of violence out of Richland County."

At around 2:12 a.m. Saturday, Columbia police officers got a call of shots fired near the intersection of Lady and Park Street outside the Empire Supper Club.  Chief Skip Holbrook said the shots came outside the business toward the back.

Holbrook's investigators believe the shooting was two opposing parties that got into a gunfight.

In addition to Howard's niece, seven other people were hit by gunfire. The victims included four men and four women, who ranged in age from 22 to 52, with most of them being in their 20s.

One of other victims was a Kentucky fan who'd come to Columbia because of the USC game She was struck in the neck, and is one of those in critical condition. 

Related Coverage: 'She can open her eyes, I can tell her I love her," boyfriend of victim says 

At this point, Holbrook said he is not sure if gangs are involved. 

Video Shows Moment Gunshots Were Fired in the Midlands

"This is a bad situation we have got to recognize that gun crime can't be tolerated, Holbrook said. "It's not just a police issue. We have to take a hold of this as a community and do something about it."

In addition to the announcement of the arrests, Columbia police also announced new details on a vehicle of interest. It's a 2006 black BWM 3-Series with SC license plate NLB-507.

Holbrook said he has declared the site of the shooting, Empire Supper Club, a nuisance, and have revoked its business license. The business is now padlocked.

Related Coverage: Vista Nightclub Shut Down After Shooting

Holbrook said they have had problems with the business in the past. He said the owner was at the club when the shooting happened. 

It had been open for 18 months.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin issued a statement, saying this type of violence wouldn't be tolerated. 

"We are thankful for our men and women in law enforcement. Our businesses are open, and we are not going to let some outside troublemakers define who we are to our guests. We continue to pray for all of the innocent souls and families hurt last night.” Related: Read More of Mayor Benjamin's Statement

Anyone with information that can help in this case should contact Crimestoppers in any of the following ways: 

CALL toll-free, 888-CRIME-SC.

TEXT to CRIMES (274637), and mark the beginning of the message with “TIPSC,” followed by the tip information.

LOG onto: www.midlandscrimestoppers.com, and click on the red “Submit a tip” tab.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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