Crime & Public Safety

Ridgeland men charged after caller claims club is target of shooting plot

Three Ridgeland men were charged with simple marijuana possession after several firearms were found in the vehicle they were passengers in Friday night.

Around 11:30 p.m., deputies were sent to the area of Ruth P. Field Medical Center on Okatie Highway after they got an anonymous call claiming a shooting was being planned at a club in the 700 block of Okatie Highway, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office report.

One deputy pulled over a black Honda Accord traveling north that did not have the license plate illuminated.

When the occupants rolled down a window, the deputy smelled marijuana and saw an assault rifle-style weapon sticking out of the middle seat in the back of the vehicle, the report said.

The deputy requested backup, and all four occupants inside the vehicle were searched and interviewed.

During the interviews, deputies found two .22 caliber rifles, two handguns and ammunition in the trunk of the vehicle. They also found three bags containing small amounts of marijuana, the report said.

The man in the vehicle’s front passenger seat told deputies he owned one of the .22 rifles and that he had brought it for protection since Jasper County is “wild,” the report said. He denied bringing the weapon to shoot at the club.

Another passenger said he owned the other rifle and one of the handguns and also denied any intentions to shoot at the club, as did the third passenger.

The three passengers were taken to Beaufort County Detention Center and released the next day, according to the detention center’s website.

The driver was released from the scene after he was given a warning about the license plate light.

None of the weapons had been reported stolen, but additional charges could be filed if they were carried unlawfully, the report said.

Caitlin Turner: 843-706-8184, @Cait_E_Turner