With the motive still unclear, 2 Vista nightclub shooting suspec - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

With the motive still unclear, 2 Vista nightclub shooting suspects appear in court

John Earl Bates, Jr. (Source: Columbia Police Department) John Earl Bates, Jr. (Source: Columbia Police Department)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Two of the four men arrested and charged in connection with a nightclub shooting that wounded eight people in the Vista back in September appeared in court on Wednesday.

Veteran Columbia defense attorney, John Delgado is representing John Earl Bates, Jr., aka "Hun Dunn."

Of the four young men accused of having some role in the violence that broke out near what was the Empire Supper Club on Lady Street, Bates is considered by police to be one of the principal players. His charges include multiple counts of attempted murder.  

The shooting took place early outside the Empire Supper Club on Park Street. By the time deputies arrived, eight people were wounded in the exchange of gunfire between Bates and another suspect, Maleik Houseal.

In court on Wednesday, Delgado argued that some of the commentary about what led to the gunfire on that night is just wrong. A source close to the situation said the shootout between John Earl Bates, Jr. and Maleik Houseal started over an alleged theft of rap lyrics. But a police investigator said Wednesday that Bates was not engaged in some sort of music-related dispute when he began firing gunshots from his car near the club.

A point Bates’ attorney reiterated after the hearing.

“It has nothing to do with it. Never had anything to do with it,” Delgado said. “And all of us on this side knew that.”

Delgado, in fact, denied that Bates fired any gunshots and said the incident had nothing to do with organized gangs in the Newberry area.

“There are no organized gangs in Newberry South Carolina. There are guys from neighborhoods that played on high school basketball teams that may have a beef with fellas that played football at an adjoining high school. That's what constitutes gangs in Newberry South Carolina. This is not gang-related. Not gang-related,” Delgado said.

Jarvis Tucker also appeared in court on Wednesday. He is facing a charge of accessory after the fact. Police found three handguns in his car including one Tucker admits was his. His parents say their son has no criminal record.

The preliminary hearing for another suspect, Keveas Gallman, has been postponed to November 6.

Another suspect, Maleik Houseal, appeared at his own preliminary hearing Monday where a judge found probable cause in his case where he was slammed with various weapons charges. 

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