USC Student from Greenville Shot In Five Points - WSPA.com

USC Student from Greenville Shot In Five Points

Posted: Updated:
Michael Juan Smith Michael Juan Smith
COLUMBIA, S.C. -

An 18-year-old USC student from Greenville was shot and critically injured early Sunday morning when she was hit by a stray bullet in Columbia’s Five Points area near campus. Police are not releasing her name, but say she’s in critical but stable condition. The incident report says she was hit in the right ribcage.

Columbia Police Chief Ruben Santiago says 20-year-old Michael Juan Smith was stopped just seconds after shooting and arrested. The police report says Smith was carrying a gun that had been fired twice.

Chief Santiago says Smith got into an altercation with two men near the Exxon gas station in Five Points, near the iconic fountain. Chief Santiago says Smith pulled out the gun and fired twice. He didn’t hit either man, but one of the bullets hit the female student in her right side. She was with friends near a taxi stand by the fountain, waiting for a cab to take her home. The shooting took place around 2:30 a.m.

Chief Santiago says there are between 10 and 20 officers in Five Points at any given time on weekends, and they heard the gunshots and saw Smith running. The area has an extensive network of security cameras and the shooting was recorded.

"Officer presence has been very successful,” he says. “If you notice, we have our officers in brightly colored vests. Our police cars, every chance we get we're trying to turn on our blue lights. We have a very sophisticated camera network down there. You would think all that would deter someone thinking about doing this type of activity, this crime, this malicious, heinous action. But it didn't, and that's one of those things that always concerns me as a police chief, but also our department, to look at strategies."

The University of South Carolina says it’s also talking about what it can do to improve student safety in Five Points, which is at the edge of campus and is popular for its many restaurants and bars.

USC spokesman Wes Hickman says, "There's conversations going on right now at senior levels in the university to talk about what can we do next? What more needs to be done? What do we need to call on others to do in order to provide that environment for students?" 

Amy Beth Franks, executive director of the Five Points Association, says the violence in Five Points is frustrating for the merchants there.

"I think that the police are continuously working on efforts to make this as safe as possible,” she says. “We've had huge improvements in their patrolling styles. They're walking in groups of two throughout the whole neighborhood."

But that won’t prevent all crime. “We can do as much as we can with police patrolling and cameras everywhere, but we aren't going to be able to tell people exactly how to act."

A judge denied bond for Smith, so he’s still in jail. He’s charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. He’s also a convicted felon, which means he can’t legally have a gun, so he’s also charged with possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a violent felony, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, unlawful carrying of a pistol, and possession of a stolen pistol.

  • Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>

  • Foul Play Suspected In Union Missing Person Investigation

    Foul Play Suspected In Union Missing Person Investigation

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 3:31 AM EDT2014-04-16 07:31:41 GMT
    Officers roped off the scene on Union BlvdOfficers roped off the scene on Union Blvd
    City of Union Public Safety investigators were at the scene of a home on Union Blvd Tuesday night investigating a missing person case.
    City of Union Public Safety investigators were at the scene of a home on Union Blvd Tuesday night investigating a missing person case.
  • Bass Pro Shops Considering Spartanburg Co., Sources Tell Paper

    Bass Pro Shops Considering Spartanburg Co., Sources Tell Paper

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:30 PM EDT2014-04-16 02:30:59 GMT
    Sources tell our coverage partners at the Spartanburg Herald Journal, Bass Pro Shops is considering building near the BMW facility at the intersection of Highway 101 and Interstate 85.
    Sources tell our coverage partners at the Spartanburg Herald Journal, Bass Pro Shops is considering building near the BMW facility at the intersection of Highway 101 and Interstate 85.
  • 11 Upstate High Schools Among Nations "Most Challenging"

    11 Upstate High Schools Among Nations "Most Challenging"

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:03 PM EDT2014-04-16 02:03:25 GMT
    A new ranking released Tuesday by the Washington Post lists 11 local high schools as some of the nation's most challenging. A new ranking released Tuesday by the Washington Post lists 11 local high schools as some of the nation's most challenging.
    A new ranking released Tuesday by the Washington Post lists 11 local high schools as some of the nation's most challenging. Schools are measured by how well they prepare their students for college level work. 8 Greenville County schools made the list. Greenville's Southside High School earned the number 2 spot in the state and 189 on a national list of more than 2000. 2 Spartanburg County schools also made the list....
    A new ranking released Tuesday by the Washington Post lists 11 local high schools as some of the nation's most challenging. Schools are measured by how well they prepare their students for college level work. 8 Greenville County schools made the list. Greenville's Southside High School earned the number 2 spot in the state and 189 on a national list of more than 2000. 2 Spartanburg County schools also made the list....
Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.