Columbia, SC (WLTX) - One of the Vista shooting suspects could have been in jail less than 24 hours prior to Saturday morning's shooting.
John Bates Jr. was in court on Friday for a hearing to revoke his probation on an assault charge. Bates Jr. was in court because he didn't meet the requirements of his probation. According to Peter O'Boyle, spokesman with the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services, he wasn't paying his fees and wasn't checking in regularly with his probation officer.
O'Boyle said they wanted Bates Jr. to be in jail for 60 days, but the judge decided to continue his probation.
"It's giving someone a second chance to live out in the community, have a job and earn a living, instead of living in a prison somewhere. You have gotten this second chance to be out in the streets, to have your freedom and you better follow the rules. The rules are stiff and if they're violated, we have the judge take a look at it," he said.
O'Boyle said they have issued another probation violation warrant based on the charge stemming from Saturday's 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, 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.
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.
As of late Wednesday, three of the victims remain in critical condition, one is in stable condition, and four have been released from the hospital, including Houseal.
A fight over a rap song is believed to have led to the shooting, according to a law enforcement source.
The source, who is close to the investigation into the crime, told News19 that one of the groups involved in the shooting was upset with the other because they felt they had stolen their song.
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.
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., Gallman, and Houseal, remain behind bars. Tucker has been released on bond.