Columbia, SC (WLTX) - After a third arrest was made in one Five Points attack, News19 talked with another man who says he was attacked by several men in the early morning hours of Sunday, September 22. But he doesn't believe it was the same men.
25-year-old Aaron Smalls says he was walking with a friend on Harden Street when several people began hitting him.
"It just happened so fast," he explains. Smalls says the incident that happened a little more than a week ago was a whirlwind, but there are things he definitely remembers from his walk just before 1 a.m. "There was a few guys in the distance, I was walking towards that. Next thing I know, it seemed like they were running their mouth to everybody, just trying to cause a problem," he remembers, "As they came past me, one of them intentionally bumped me in the shoulder and said something. I stopped and turned around and said something, basically just to say, 'Chill out. It's not that kind of party.' As I turned around, I just basically got hit."
While he says he didn't get a clear look at them, he doesn't think it was the same men charged in the other attack in Five Points that night.
According to the incident report, both he and a friend who witnessed the attacked said eight men were punching him, while he held up his arms to guard his face. The friend told police that Smalls never fell down, but learned in the hospital later that he had a broken right forearm from the incident. Says Smalls of his injury, "Just had surgery on Wednesday, it's gonna take about 6 weeks to recover."
He's a civilian contractor, who until what was supposed to be this vacation home, was overseas in Afghanistan. "Right now, with my job, I'm just on medical leave. I'll be clear in about a month to go back," he says.
Still, he's trying to stay positive about his situation. Says Smalls, "It hasn't been bad actually. I mean, it could've been worse. I'm optimistic, that's how I always think about it."
And about the atmosphere down here as well. "From my experience, I've never really had any issues out here," he says, "It really doesn't phase me, I've just seen so much before that it's like, you just have to live. You can't live in fear."
Smalls has personally gone through some of the surveillance video taken in that area, but says that because of the crowd of people it's difficult to see anything.
News19 has requested a copy of that video.
Since these incidents, Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott has promised more officers assigned to the area and stricter enforcement on loitering ordinances.