Bond denied for man accused in Five Points stray-bullet shooting

Michael Juan Smith (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)
Michael Juan Smith (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)
Ryan Ellison (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)
Ryan Ellison (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)
Five Points
Five Points
The man accused of firing the bullet that critically injured an 18-year-old University of South Carolina student in Five Points early Sunday morning has been denied bond.

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Michael Juan Smith, 20, of Columbia appeared before a judge Monday morning to answer to charges of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and possession of a stolen pistol.

Smith will remain incarcerated in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

The 18-year-old woman, who was not the intended target, remains in critical but stable condition, according to Columbia Police.

Attempts to identify the woman were difficult, but after digging through social media, we discovered a trending topic called #PrayForMartha. Digging further, we were able to identify the victim as Martha Childress.

Childress tweeted a message of thanks to her friends and family.

"Thanks to everyone who's kept me in their constant thoughts and prayers through this difficult time. The support means so much to me," said Childress.

The incident happened in the 700 block of Harden Street around 2:30 a.m.

A Columbia Police Department incident report states Smith was shooting at two unknown black males he was having an argument with. The bullet missed the intended targets and traveled into a crowd of people waiting for taxi cabs, according to the report.

Childress was hit in the ribcage and immediately collapsed. She was transported to Palmetto Health Richland Hospital in critical condition. No other injuries were reported.

Several officers were on patrol in the area when they arrested Smith after he was seen running along Harden Street near the former Pops NY Pizza.

Officers said they located the gun believed to have been used to commit the crime. It had been reported stolen out of Richland County.

"This is a senseless crime," said Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago. "Here is a young lady who was standing with a large group of people when she gets shot and then collapses in front of her friends. Now she is fighting for her life in the hospital. The shooter has no respect for human life and will face the consequences. Our prayers are with the victim and her family."

University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides said he was shocked and deeply saddened when he heard about the shooting.

"The university is working closely with our student and her family to provide all available resources," Pastides said. "On behalf of the entire Carolina family, Patricia and I offer our thoughts and prayers for healing and recovery and for the safety and well-being of all of our students."

The Five Points Association is frustrated about the incident as well.

"We don't want anyone to think that we're not aware of what's happening," said Amy Beth Franks, FPA representative. "We have these outside elements that are coming into our neighborhood that are clearly not here to go into our bars and our restaurants or any of our stores, that are here with ill intentions and are causing harm to our patrons."

USC students, the usual patrons of Five Points on a Saturday night, are shocked about the incident as well.

"Our student body has experienced profound shock and sadness at the violence that occurred to one of the members of our family," said student body president Chase Mizzell.

"Streets thugs are on notice," Santiago said. "If you decide to commit a crime in Five Points, you will be caught on surveillance camera and you will be captured by law enforcement and sent to jail."

Officers have been patrolling Five Points for several months and will continue to do so, he added.

"The city is seeing the results of their hard work," Santiago said. "I am commending CPD Officers on their prompt response to this incident."

Ryan Ellison, 17, of Irmo was charged with public disorderly conduct in connection with the night's events. An incident report states Ellison was using profane language and was grossly intoxicated while walking with Smith.

Smith and the Ellison were transported to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

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