A suspect in the wild South Carolina mall shooting over the Easter weekend that left 14 people injured is asserting he fired in self-defense, according to published reports, and was granted bond of $25,000 with a condition he wear an ankle bracelet.
According to Fox News, 22-year-old Jewayne Price will be able to go to and from work under conditions set by the court. Presently, the only charge against Price is unlawful carrying of a pistol, apparently because he is not licensed to carry concealed. South Carolina is not a “constitutional carry” state, so a permit is still necessary to go armed in public.
WIS said Price is being represented by State Rep. Todd Rutherford, an attorney, who says his client had previously been threatened by the people who shot at him at the Columbiana Centre mall. Rutherford also said Price has cooperated with police in the incident, actually turned himself in and surrendered his legally-owned pistol. He apparently made a statement to the police.
“He was attacked,” Rutherford told reporters.
According to WYFF, the attorney said police know the others involved in the shooting, but had so far not made any arrests.
In the realm of mass shootings, this could be an interesting case. As details emerged in various published reports, there may be some support for the suspect’s self-defense claim as Columbia Police Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook told a news conference, “We don’t believe this was random. We believe they knew each other and something led to the gunfire,” according to Fox News.
This emerging scenario does raise questions for legally-armed citizens. If someone fires at you, do you shoot back, even in a crowded place? Should you carry without a permit/license in jurisdictions where one is required, for personal protection?
South Carolina is a “stand-your-ground” state, as explained by on-line postings by different attorneys, including this one by Futeral & Nelson, LLC. Under South Carolina statute, this firm says, “you have a right to defend yourself, up to and including the use of deadly force.”
There are four important criteria for self-defense in South Carolina, according to Futeral & Nelson’s explanation.
- The situation wasn’t your fault – if you started the fight, you can’t claim self-defense;
- You feared that you might be killed or seriously injured;
- A reasonable person in your situation would have felt the same way; and
- Duty to Retreat – There was no practical way to avoid the danger without resorting to violence.
Other discussions of South Carolina self-defense essentially say the same thing.
A news release from the Columbia police said there were a total of 14 victims including nine who suffered gunshot wounds. They range in age from 15 to 73 years old.
According to the New York Post, there may be additional charges filed against Price.