Police arrest fourth suspect in mass shooting that killed 14-year-old girl
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - North Charleston police have announced that a fourth suspect has been arrested in connection to a mass shooting that killed 14-year-old Ronjanae Smith and injured 14 others.
North Charleston police officers with the assistance from the US Marshals have arrested 18-year-old Malachi Wigfall. Wigfall is the fourth person that police arrested on Thursday.
This afternoon, authorities arrested 18-year-old Tye Robinson Jr. On Thursday morning, police arrested 21-year-old Tyquan Denard Cooper and 20-year-old Manqual Laval Horlbeck.
All four men each face charges of manslaughter, 12 counts of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.
The May 22 shooting killed Smith and injured 14 other people in the area of Piggly Wiggly Drive and West Jimtown Drive at what police described as an “unauthorized concert.” Authorities released the following video on the arrest of Cooper and Horlbeck.
During a press conference on Thursday, NCPD officials said the shooting involved two groups of people, which detectives characterized as gangs, who saw each other at the gathering and began shooting at each other and not caring who was in between them.
“They were so worried about themselves. They don’t know how to conduct themselves out in public, that’s fine. They need to stay home, but we’re going to keep them home now,” said Deputy Chief Ken Hagge.
Hagge said he expects there to be more arrests as the investigation continues.
“I’m not going to say how many, but there’s going to be more held accountable for this,” Hagge said.
Authorities said during the investigation so far they have talked to hundreds of witnesses, looked at videos and evidence from cell phones to shell casings. Police also made a statement regarding the charges the suspects face, calling them “unorthodox charges.”
“Manslaughter is murder folks. We can only use the tools we have in our toolbox, and we can only charge what we can prove, and manslaughter is where we feel comfortable coming forward today on those charges,” Hagge said.
North Charleston police officials said people and neighborhoods were “sick and tired” of the violence, and reported that many citizens have come forward to give tips and information in the case.
“Out of 14 people there were 9 females, young ladies that were victimized. One lost her life. Ronjanae Smith, may she rest in peace,” Chief Reggie Burgess said during Thursday’s press conference.
Burgess criticized how the event was organized, saying law enforcement was not informed it had even been planned.
“If we would have, we probably would have been able to save lives,” he said.
Smith died at an area hospital the morning after the shooting. The 14 others injured during the incident, which investigators say began with some sort of fight near the stage, have since been released from the hospital.
Some city council members in the community are questioning why some of the suspects, who had previous charges, were released prior to what happened.
“You don’t help the police department by continuing to let some of these guys out when they are breaking the law like this and terrorizing the community,” City councilman Jerome Heyward said. “We had a lot of people shot that night and a homicide, and that’s danger to our community and that’s got to stop.”
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