'Beef' Between Music Industry Groups Led to Vista Shooting, Sheriff Says

SHERIFF LEON LOTT TELLS NEWS19 THAT TWO RIVAL GROUPS OF PEOPLE....TIED TO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY....WERE INVOLVED IN THE SHOOTING..

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A 'beef" between rival groups of people tied to the music industry led to the shooting in Columbia's Vista Saturday morning, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says.

Lott spoke to News19 about the investigation into the incident that wounded a eight people.

"This had been building for a while," he said.

Related Coverage: Warrants Reveal New Details About Vista Shooting

Just after 2 a.m. Saturday, Columbia police say the two groups got into an argument outside the Empire Supper Club on Park Street. 

Arrest warrants say a short time later,  28-year-old John Bates Jr. drove past the club in a Ford Mustang, rolled down the windows, and fired multiple shots into a crowd leaving the club. One of those injured was 22-year-old Maleik Houseal, who is another suspect in this case.

The warrants state Houseal fired shots at a vehicle and hid the gun before leaving the scene, which was shown by club surveillance video.

According to the warrants, there was also a Ford Crown Victoria involved in the shooting, which was was driven by 26-year-old Jarvis Tucker. The passenger in the car, 28-year-old Keveas Gallman, is accused of firing at least two rounds which injured one man, according to investigators. 

"They solved the beef with violence, injuring innocent people," Lott said.

Among the injured was the niece of State Rep. Leon Howard, who represents part of Richland County, and a woman from Kentucky who was visiting Columbia with her boyfriend to watch Saturday night's USC-Kentucky game. 

Previous Coverage: Kentucky Fan Wounded in Columbia Shooting

Some of the victims were left in critical condition.

Previous Coverage: State Lawmaker's Niece Wounded in Vista Shooting

The sheriff says despite some speculation out there, gangs are not suspected in the crime.

"There is no affiliation with these tow groups and traditional gangs," the sheriff said.

Some of the suspects have previous arrests. Bates Jr., who's facing seven counts of attempted murder for the shooting, has a criminal history that goes back 11 years.

Related Coverage: 'He Has This Community Terrorized,' Vista Shooting Suspect Has Long Rap Sheet'

Among the charges he's faced before are attempted murder and assault and battery with intent to kill. However, he wasn't convicted on most of those charges, or had them dropped. 

Bates Jr. and Gallman remain behind bars, after a judge denied them bond Sunda morning. Tucker has bonded out of jail, while Houseal remains hospitalized.

In the wake of the shooting, Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook declared the Empire Supper Club a nuisance, and had it shut down. 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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