COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Just hours after the Richland County Coroner released the identity of a 22-year-old woman who died several hours after being shot in the head while riding in a car, Columbia Police announced the arrest a 16-year-old in connection with the incident.
Police have arrested Deante Dominic-Ali Wittich and have charged him with murder. He is expected to be tried as an adult.
Investigators believe the incident to be gang-related stemming from an earlier incident.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said 22-year-old Amanda F. McKemie of Gaston died at Palmetto Richland Hospital around 3:30 p.m. Sunday due to complications from a gunshot wound to the head.
Columbia Police spokesperson Jennifer Timmons said the incident occurred shortly after 1 a.m. on West Campanella Drive near Farrow Road.
"Preliminary information suggests that the female victim was a passenger in a vehicle when she was shot in the head," Timmons said.
A man who was driving the victim's vehicle told police they were traveling along West Campanella when he heard gunfire and saw the female critically injured, Timmons said.
A police incident report indicates the driver reported the shots came from 6800 Farrow Road.
The driver reported seeing one person fire "a couple of shots" from the parking lot of that location. Also noted in the report was that there was a second person standing beside the shooter.
According to the driver, one of the rounds went through the back window of the vehicle and struck McKemie.
The driver then drove to the Obama Convenience Store located at 5831 Main Street and called for assistance.
"Out of nowhere he comes over here, parked in the parking lot, comes in here, rushes in here saying, 'Call 911. I got a girl in there bleeding to death,'" said employee Khaled Musaed.
EMS transported the McKemie to the hospital. She was pronounced deceased by medical staff Sunday afternoon.
CPD investigators have collected evidence from the scene and continue to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting, including a motive, Timmons said.
"This violence must end," Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago. "The person (or persons) responsible for this senseless death will be caught and held accountable for what has happened. CPD Investigators are gathering information and it is only a matter of time before someone is charged with murder."
In an odd twist, the shooting happened between two crime watch signs Paul Wade worked to put up years ago.
"You know, people pass that sign and don't even see it," said Wade.