COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The news of a shooting on Two Notch Road in the middle of the day shocked many in the community, but Sheriff Leon Lott doesn’t want people to be scared.
In a news conference Thursday afternoon, Lott said the shooting was targeted and premeditated -- not random.
It happened Nov. 1 on Two Notch near the Columbia Mall.
Deputies said 28-year-old Joshua Emmanuel Peterson, of Irmo, was driving in his car when two men in another car drove by and shot him.
Those men have been arrested, Lott said. They are Aaron Evans, 44, and Simeon Miller, 25. Deputies with the Richland County Fugitive Task Force and U.S. Marshals tracked the suspects down on Nov. 6 -- Evans was in Columbia and Miller was in Charleston.
Both Evans and Miller face murder charges.
Lott said the victim, Peterson, knew the suspects. He called Peterson’s death an assassination.
All three men were at the courthouse in downtown Columbia on the morning of the shooting, Lott said.
When Peterson left, deputies believe Evans and Miller followed him until he dropped someone off in Dentsville, near Two Notch Road.
Investigators said as soon as the suspects knew Peterson was driving alone, they opened fire on him.
Peterson later died at the hospital.
The sheriff did not elaborate on the relationship between the victim and suspects, or detail any disagreements between the men.
Lott did say he did not believe the shooting was gang-related.
Joshua Peterson’s family recently lost his brother, Jaquan Peterson, who was the victim of an armed robbery that left him and one other person dead in May.
Lott said investigators don’t believe the brothers’ deaths are connected, but that the loss of both men is a tragedy for the family.
Lott wants the public to know that most of the shootings that happen in Richland County are not random.
“These are not just innocent people who are being shot,” Lott said. “We don’t have people running around Columbia and Richland County who are just shooting into cars, and just shooting into houses without some kind of reason."
Lott said there have not been any random murders in his jurisdiction in 2019, but there were two in 2018.
He sent a message to suspects -- “you’re not going to get away with it, we’re going to get you.”
Lott thanked the public, saying deputies solved the case because of help from the community.
“Working together, we can have an impact on this crime problem,” Lott said.