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Suspect in 2017 Vista shootout enters guilty plea in ‘flurry of bullets’ that injured 8

Published: Apr. 2, 2019 at 3:56 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - One of the suspects involved in the September 2017 shootout in Columbia's Vista district was sentenced on Tuesday after entering a guilty plea.

Jenorris Lartman entered a guilty plea to seven counts of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. Lartman was also injured during the shootout that injured eight in all.

"But I have to explain to you what you're facing, if I ran all the sentences of all these nine indictments consecutively just put one after the other, you are looking to 220 years in jail, knowing all that sir you still wish the continue," the judge asked.

"Yes, sir," Lartman said.

Judge Casey Manning sentenced him to 25 years in prison with credit for 564 days already served. Lartman was also referred to as a high-ranking Crip gang member from Newberry, per testimony from a co-defendant to the solicitor’s office. He has two children and a girlfriend who was at the hearing.

The assistant Fifth Circuit solicitor called the events of Sept. 16, 2017, “a flurry of bullets" caused by Lartman and the entourage he was with.

That night, varying factions left the now-shuttered Empire Supper Club and began shooting at one another. The shooting was allegedly over rap lyrics.

The assistant Fifth Circuit Solicitor also said the shooting was also a gang-related dispute that originated in Newberry. He also said that both Lartman and a co-defendant, John Bates, both fired shots at rival Maleik Houseal when his back was turned.

After the shooting, the club was stripped of its business license and shut down by the Columbia Police Department.

Outside of the courtroom, one of the victims, Kentucky resident Gloria Massey-Brannon, reflected on her life since the shooting. She was an innocent bystander in Columbia for the Kentucky-South Carolina football game when she was shot in the face.

"I saw the fire come out of the gun, I felt the impact, and it was over for me," Brannon said. "He got 25 years and I got a life sentence. Nothing is ever going to change the way that I've gotta function for the rest of my life. So he got off easier than I did."

[ MORE: Kentucky fan shot in the face in Vista shooting returns to thank doctors ]

Lartman did apologize for his actions and said he realizes he can’t take it back during the proceedings.

Two of Lartman’s co-defendants, Bates and Keveas Gallman, may appear in court next week, per the assistant Fifth Circuit Solicitor in court.

Houseal, of Newberry, pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in the shooting. At the time of the September 2017 shooting, Houseal was both on state probation and on state bonds for incidents that occurred after his release from the South Carolina Department of Corrections in May 2017.

You can watch the entire court proceedings here:

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