COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A University of Kentucky fan who was visiting Columbia for the Gamecock football game on Saturday was one of the eight victims injured in an overnight shooting in Columbia's Vista.
Officers said an altercation at the Empire Supper Club on Lady Street escalated to shots being fired. That nightclub has since been deemed a public nuisance by Police Chief Skip Holbrook and their business license has been revoked, Columbia Police officials said in a press conference on Saturday.
In a Facebook post published Saturday morning, Jimmy Brannon recounted the events that had unfolded. Brannon said he and his girlfriend, Denise Massey, were having the time of their lives in Columbia's Vista. The two were headed back to the Sheraton, the hotel where they were staying, when he heard multiple pops.
"Since I am a prankster, myself, I first thought some kids were busting pop bottles or the like," Brannon said in his post. "Denise was a couple of feet behind me talking with some people, when people started scattering and I remember joking that I was going to duck myself."
After Brannon ducked in front of a vehicle, he turned around for Massey and saw that she had been shot in the face.
"There was a very large amount of blood and she gripped my hand tight but was not conscious and given the gunshot to the head…I became somewhat distraught," Brannon recalled.
Massey was taken to a local hospital but Brannon said he was not allowed to ride with her. He said he had no idea where she was being taken and all of the hospitals in the area were on a lockdown so he turned to what he always does in times of desperation – prayer.
"A friend in wishing my girlfriend a recovery said he wished her the best but wasn't praying type. To which I said that there are no atheists in foxholes and last night I found myself in a foxhole," Brannon said.
Massey is in critical condition, Brannon went on to say, and her parents have been notified. Doctors told Brannon that Massey is very lucky to have a gunshot to the cheek area that shattered some bone and exited the back of the neck without damage to her spinal cord. One of her carotid arteries was also struck and is a concern for possible clot or stroke.
"She is going to be in ICU for some time but with the prayers of my friends and hers, which she desperately needs, there is hope for a full recovery," Brannon said. "I am staying with her at the hospital for the duration. The next 48 hours are critical they told me and Denise needs your prayers."
Later in the day Brannon posted on Facebook that the president of the University of Kentucky, Mitch Barnhart, and his wife Connie, visited with him and Massey in the hospital to say a prayer with them.
"Thanks a bunch on behalf of Denise," Brannon posted to Facebook after the visit. "I just hope we get a chance to thank you again upon a successful recovery."
Barnhart then reached out to USC President Harris Pastides. He says Pastides then reached out to the director of the Columbia hospital where Massey was receiving medical care to offer to help her and her family in any way he can. Brannon said Pastides even made a visit to the hospital to check on Massey.
"Good people can overcome bad. Thanks to all those guys. I just need Denise out of harm's way, Brannon said, "and then after that, get rid of these bloody clothes, and quit crying long enough to go to sleep for a half hour."