Man shot by trooper: I hope this situation can help make a change

Published: Sep. 17, 2014 at 1:12 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2014 at 4:22 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Two weeks removed from the trooper-involved shooting at the Circle K on Broad River Road in Columbia, questions and concerns are starting to grow louder.

"There's a lot of concern," Representative Joe Neal said. "There's are those who are suspicious."

Authorities say Lance Corporal S.M. Groubert stopped a driver for a seat belt violation. During the traffic stop, an incident occurred that caused the trooper to fire his gun.

While the State Law Enforcement Division continues to investigate the afternoon shooting, there still has been no indication of what caused the shooting or if the shooting was justified.

"I think we have questions, obviously," Neal said. "We want to know how do you go from a seat belt violation to a shooting."

The shooting victim, LeVar Jones, has told WIS in a statement that he is not ready to conduct an interview at this time.

"I know that the community has questions and people are interested in what and why this happened to me," Jones said in the statement. "I thank God everyday that I am here with a story to tell and hope my situation can make a change. My recovery is coming (along) well, and hope this situation can make a change, not just here at home in South Carolina, but coast-to-coast."

Todd Rutherford, Jones' attorney, can't say much for now either. However, he did tell WIS that he believes the investigation is almost over.

Rutherford did point out his client had no weapons on him and was shot once in the hip. He also says dashcam video of the incident definitely exists.

Meanwhile, it is Neal's hope that officials will release that video as soon as possible.

"I think it would be helpful for that to happen," Neal said. "I think that would answer a lot of questions about what happened and why it happened and how to prevent it from happening again."

At this point, SLED was unable to provide an end date for the investigation. However, Neal plans to host a forum on October 4th with a number of local ministers to talk about what people, in particular African-American males, should do when they're pulled over during a traffic stop.

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