Three South Carolina teenagers fatally shot three classmates and injured another on Sunday when they opened fire outside an abandoned house over a “stupid” years-long feud, police said.
Jahkeem Griffin and Karlos Gibson, both 17, and an unnamed 14-year-old boy all face charges for murder, attempted murder and other crimes for unleashing the violence, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Office.
“Over something stupid. Over something that happened a couple of years ago. A beef that just continues to grow and then young people decide that they’re going to solve it by shooting,” Sheriff Leon Lott said at a press conference.
“You have three teens who will never see adulthood. This is because of what? A disagreement? ‘I don’t like you, you did something to me, so I’m gonna pay you back, so I’m gonna kill you?’”
The three teens allegedly opened fire on their victims while they were sitting in front of an abandoned home in Columbia, the state capital, just after 2 p.m., police said.
The gunmen charged after the teenagers when they tried to retreat into the backyard before fleeing.
Jakobe Fanning, 16, Caleb Wise, 16, and 17-year-old Dre’Von Riley were killed in the gunfire. All three were students at Eau Claire High School.
The lone survivor — a 14-year-old middle schooler — was released from the hospital after being treated for the gunshot wound.
According to Lott, the groups have been quibbling over a burglary from two years earlier, though he did not disclose further details.
Griffin and Gibson attended Eau Claire High School with their three dead victims, while the unnamed gunman and surviving victim attended middle school together.
The district provided additional counseling and security at the high school Monday in response to the “unimaginable tragedy,” which district superintendent Craig Witherspoon decried as “senseless gun violence.”
Lott would not say how the weapons were obtained but noted that too many Columbia gun owners leave their firearms in cars, where they are easily stolen.
“I’ve talked about many times where a gun is gonna get you one or two places: It’s gonna be the cemetery or prison and yesterday we saw that play out again,” Lott said.
“You stand here and you shake your head and just wonder why. Why can’t these kids do something else besides just resort to violence and using guns? Doesn’t solve a problem. Doesn’t it make anything better. It just makes it worse.”
The two older boys will be tried as adults and a judge will decide whether the 14-year-old’s case stays in juvenile court.
All three face the same charges of three counts of murder, attempted murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and possession of a handgun under the age of 18.
With Post Wires