COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - In an ironic twist, one person whose car was damaged by a BB gun allegedly fired by one of two arrested University of South Carolina basketball players is a big fan of the team and even traveled to Nashville to watch the Gamecocks in the SEC Tournament.
The two men's basketball players were released on bond after a hearing on misdemeanor charges Thursday morning. They were suspended from the team earlier this week.
Police Chief Skip Holbrook says beginning earlier this month, CPD initiated an investigation related to reports of property crimes in collaboration with the University of South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement and Safety.
After consulting with the Fifth Circuit Solicitor's office, Eric Cobb is charged with malicious injury to private property and third degree assault and battery.
Jamall Gregory is charged with one count of malicious injury to real property, and three counts of malicious injury to personal property.
They are both players for the University of South Carolina basketball team and both freshmen. On Tuesday, USC head basketball coach Frank Martin announced five players were suspended, Gregory and Cobb among them. Martin did not specify why the players were suspended.
Cobb and Gregory were served arrest warrants early Thursday morning. They appeared in bond court later in the morning and were released on PR bond.
"They have great character, they're young, and like I said, people make mistakes especially at a young age," their attorney Seth Rose said. "If we determine that they have done something wrong, they will make it right and put this behind them and move forward."
The charges stem from incidents that occurred earlier this month involving damage to vehicles with the use of a BB gun. On March 7, 2016, while at the 2100 block of Blossom Street, Cobb is accused of shooting a BB pellet gun at an occupied vehicle.
Gregory allegedly used a BB pellet gun to damage three cars on March 9, 2016 along the 900 block of Laurens Street. One of the vehicles damaged belongs to Ben Romski, a big USC basketball fan who attends most home games and recently made to the trip to Nashville to watch the Gamecocks in the SEC Tournament.
"So pretty much it's just basically a little small dent. At first, I thought it might have been like an acorn or something, but it just chipped the paint," Romski said. "You know, they're still young adults. They're learning. They'll grow as a person from it, I'm sure. I hope that they have a chance to salvage a reputation in some way, shape, or form."
Gregory allegedly used a BB pellet gun to damage three cars on March 9, 2016 along the 900 block of Laurens Street.
Cars sustained damage to a window on the rear driver's side door and a rear window, while a third victim's car sustained damage to a door.
Gregory is also accused of using a BB pellet gun to damage the side of a building at the 800 block of Park Street on March 6, 2016.
Cobb and Gregory were booked at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center and later released after their bond hearing.
Meanwhile, coach Martin and the USC Athletics Department released a brief statement on the issue.
"We are aware of the allegations against Eric Cobb and Jamall Gregory and we will have no further comment at this time due to this being a legal matter," Martin said.
The Gamecocks play their second-round NIT game Sunday against Georgia Tech at Colonial Life Arena.