COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Columbia police have charged a 23-year-old man in connection with a shooting that occurred at the China Hut restaurant on Gervais Street and Millwood Avenue on Nov. 30.
Je’ Nell Montez Burton is charged with armed robbery, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and unlawful carrying of a weapon.
Investigators with CPD believe that Burton agreed to meet a man and woman who were attempting to sell shoes at the location. Instead of buying the shoes, Burton held them at gunpoint.
The man trying to sell shoes then shot at Burton, causing non life-threatening injuries to Burton’s hand and leg. Police say 20 rounds were fired before 6 p.m. Saturday.
Property Crimes Unit investigator Keith Williamson said that there are certain things to be looking out for when carrying out these types of transactions.
“It’s 2019, it’s an avenue to save money, obviously it’s something that people are going to do and I think that a lot of people have been involved with it in some form or fashion but I think it’s just using common sense to avoid anything going wrong,” Williamson said.
Williamson said one of the red flags you should look out for is when the person makes last-minute changes regarding the meeting spot.
“Those red flags would be unusual requests or payments, last-minute changes to meeting locations, people avoiding to answer questions,” Williamson said. “If people are interested in an item your selling, or you’re interested in purchasing an item, people should be pretty forthcoming to answering those questions. If they are kind of dodging, then it’s going to be a red flag.”
Williamson said it’s also important to take precautions, like meeting during the day at a neutral location, such as a police department or at an internet exchange safety zone.
“One of the most common things is social media transactions so obviously take a look at their social media, make sure it looks legitimate, some people use fraudulent accounts,” Williamson said.
CPD responded to the scene before any calls came in due to being alerted by Shotspotter.
Burton was taken to a local hospital for treatment and then taken to Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. Burton is currently held on a $75,000 surety bond set by a judge.
There were no other reported injuries during the incident. A car belonging to an employee of the restaurant was also shot and suffered damage to the side and rear windows.