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Columbiana Mall suspect acted in self-defense, family, lawyer say

The family of a suspect in the Columbiana Centre Mall shooting is speaking out, after they say their loved one was forced to defend himself.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A suspect arrested in connection to a weekend shooting at Columbiana Centre mall that left at least nine shot and five others injured was in bond court Sunday afternoon.

In his first appearance since being arrested, Jewayne Price, 22, defended his actions through his attorney Todd Rutherford after being charged with the unlawful carrying of a weapon. Price has not been charged with wounding anyone. 

"People that had been threatening him for years saw him in the mall, came at him, and obviously started shooting at him," Rutherford said.

His family, who was at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center where the hearing took place, outlined the moment they say the gunfire started.

RELATED: Man arrested after Columbiana Centre shooting granted bond

"His sister was working when she had missed a FaceTime call from him," Cecilia Ivery, Price's aunt, said. "She called back. He was literally running and we heard gunshots and he was saying, 'They shooting at me. They shooting at me.' "

According to Columbia Police, the 14 victims range from 15 to 73-years-old.

Those who weren't shot suffered broken bones and at least one head injury while attempting to flee the scene.

In a Saturday press conference, Police Chief Skip Holbrook compared the rush of patrons to a "stampede." So far, the department believes none of those harmed were connected to the shooting, but were bystanders caught in the crossfire.

Price's attorney says Price did fire his weapon in self defense.

RELATED: 'Prayers always help': Churchgoers attend Easter service with Columbiana shooting top of mind

Credit: WLTX
Jewayne Price, left, and his attorney, Todd Rutherford

"He owns a gun legally; it's registered to him," Rutherford said. "He does not have a Concealed Weapon Permit (CWP). That's why he was charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol.... What is clear is that he was not provoking anyone. He was shopping in the mall when he was attacked, and he responded to that attack and he certainly has the right to do that under South Carolina law."

Price was granted a $25 thousand surety bond. He will be required to wear an ankle monitor with no contact to those involved.

He also cannot visit Columbiana Centre.

RELATED: Suspect arrested in Columbiana Mall shooting, two more suspects wanted; total injuries raised to 14

"You got consequences for your actions. We understand that. He just got unlawful carrying of a firearm because he's not a CWP carrier, but it's fair," Ivery said. "This was a senseless act where, what, over 12 people got injured? Where people were out there with their families for Easter and he was out there trying to get things for festivities that were going on this weekend that he was going to. It's all senseless, but at the same time, you have to protect yourself.... We send our sincere sympathy to those that were hurt, those that were traumatized, those that were trampled, you know, just any type of injury."

Police are still looking for at least two other suspects connected to Saturday's shooting.

They've set up a hotline to take tips on the case. Anyone with information should reach out to 803-545-3525.

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