RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. — Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott on Friday announced another arrest in the shooting at Meadowlake Park three weeks ago, thanks to tips from the community and social media.
Nine people were shot and two others were injured after shots rang out at an after-prom flash party at Meadowlake Park in Columbia around 1:30 a.m. on April 29. More than 100 "young folks left in terror" that night, Lott said.
"This was a mass shooting. We’re just very fortunate no one died, and it wasn't because those that were shooting those guns that night didn't trying to kill people," Lott said. "Through the grace of God, we didn’t have anybody that died."
Lott announced the arrest of 18-year-old Christopher Pearson in connection to the shooting. Previously, two 16-year-olds were arrested. Pearson is charged with 11 counts of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
Pearson's arrest followed tips from the community and a video Pearson posted on social media which tipsters passed along.
In the video, Pearson can be seen in his home holding a shotgun with an extended magazine, according to Lott.
"Meet me at Meadowlake, 11 o'clock, ARPs, Glocks, shotguns, rocket launchers, and grenade launchers, all that, do it," Pearson said in the video which, according to the sheriff, was posted after the Meadowlake Park shooting.
"That video was made, saying come back to Meadowlake again, bring all your artillery, bring all the guns you got and let's go back," Lott said.
In a search of Pearson's home Friday morning, Lott said they recovered eight guns.
"I'm not going to say that those guns, all eight guns, were involved in that, but here's someone who's 18 years old in the house doing videos," Lott said. "This is the mentality that we've got with young people that are out here that are doing these shootings."
Lott said none of the guns had been matched with evidence from the crime scene but they can place Pearson at the crime scene.
"We've got, you know, a little bit of work to do trying to match them all up to see if any of them match. Even if they don't match, even though if he did get rid of whatever gun that was used there, we can place him at the scene," Lott said. "We can place him shooting the gun, so we got enough evidence to go get a search warrant today, and then also these arrest warrants on him, also."
“This investigation has not slowed down one bit since the time those shootings happened," Lott said. "Everybody who shot that night, we're going to find them and we're going to charge them."