USC Upstate student killed in shooting

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Authorities are investigating the shooting death of a USC Upstate student. 

The victim is identified as 22-year-old Evan Jeffery Gaines. 

Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said Gaines, originally from Columbia, was a local college student. 

Gaines was taken to the hospital but later died. 

It’s unclear if Gaines was shot at the apartment complex, near the USC Upstate campus or another location.

On Wednesday, 7News caught up with Paige Eschete who was walking her dog in the field by Campus Edge Apartments. Eschete tells 7News on Tuesday night she saw and heard something unusual at her complex. 

“My window was open and I definitely heard a gunshot,” Eschete said. “After that, I heard sirens and I think I heard a car speed off.” 

On Tuesday evening, Gaines was taken to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center from Campus Edge Apartments, where he lived, according to Clevenger. 

Gaines was pronounced dead at the hospital at 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 26. His death is being investigated as a homicide, according to the Coroner. 

“He was quiet [and] easy going kid. He didn’t bother anybody and I don’t understand why anybody would do a thing like this to him at all,” said Sabrina Durant, Gaines’ girlfriend aunt. 

Durant tells 7News Gaines was a business major at USC Upstate and was getting ready to graduate in May. 

“He was in college, he was a good kid,” Durant said. 

The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, the coroner, and USC Upstate campus police are actively pursuing leads in the death investigation. 

Some students 7News spoke with say the whole incident is unsettling. 

“That’s crazy,” said Mason Moody, a freshman. “That’s really crazy.” 

Upstate Property Rentals, who own and manages Campus Edge Apartment, released this statement: 

“At this time, we have no details concerning the tragedy that happened last night. We are praying for this young man’s family and friends.” 

“It hurts a lot because he was really close with the family. He was like a nephew to me, he was really close. It hurts us, it hurts us a lot,” said Durant. 

No arrests or suspect information has been released at this time.

“In conjunction with the earlier email from the Coroner’s Office, my agency is in the infancy stages of an investigation. More information will be released at the appropriate time,” Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office’s Lt. Kevin Bobo said.

An autopsy is scheduled Wednesday. 

USC Upstate released this statement following the incident: 

“USC Upstate is deeply saddened by the death of one of our students following an incident that occurred at an off-campus location. The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident, and the USC Upstate Police Department is working closely with investigators. The university, in consultation with our Department of Public Safety, has determined this to be an isolated incident and that, currently, no threat to campus exists. USC Upstate has provided the campus community with access to counseling services, as needed. The safety and security of our students, faculty, and staff are—and always will be—the university’s first priorities.”

Please check back for updates on this developing story. 

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