Man charged in connection with mass shooting at Richland County park appears in court

Rutherford went on to say Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) confiscated all the guns at Pearson’s home
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 9:40 AM EDT
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RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The court is waiting until Friday to make a decision on bond for a third person charged in connection with a mass shooting at a Richland County park.

Christopher Pearson, 19, is charged with 11 counts of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Pearson went before a judge on Wednesday after his bond was denied at his last hearing in bond court.

Pearson’s lawyer, Todd Rutherford, told the court his client was not at Meadowlake Park at the time of the shooting and stated he has video evidence he was at home that night. He also said the threat Pearson made about the shooting was posted after the shooting happened, not before.

Rutherford went on to say Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) confiscated all the guns at Pearson’s home, but deputies haven’t said any of them were used in the shooting.

Rutherford also argued Pearson was identified at Meadowlake Park by an eyewitness, but RCSD said the shooters were wearing masks.

Rutherford claimed his client’s arrest was the result of law enforcement’s “rush to arrest.”

Rutherford addressed the state’s main piece of evidence, a video Pearson made just hours after the shooting, ghat was played in the courtroom Wednesday morning.

“It has no relevance to what happened the night before,” Rutherford said. “In fact, it was made in reaction to what happened the night before. My client’s phone records will show he was at home, Those towers that his phone pinged off of would’ve put him at home. Not at Meadowlake Park.”

Victim impact statements were also read at the hearing.

Nearly a dozen people who RCSD said range in age from 16 to 20 years old were injured in the shooting at Meadowlake Park around 1 a.m. on April 29.

Accoding to RCSD, out of the 11 people hurt, nine were shot including two 11th-grade boys and one 12th-grade girl who attend W.J. Keenan High School. Authorities said A 12th-grade girl who attends C.A. Johnson High School was hurt after being hit by a car.

Two brothers are also charged in connection with the shooting. Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) said they were 16-years-old at the time of the shooting, but have since turned 17-years-old.

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