Two men died and 8 people were injured in a shooting at a crowded sports bar near Lancaster, S.C., early Saturday, authorities said. The shooter or shooters have not been found.
“I believe it was one person targeting another,” Sheriff Barry Faile said at a news conference Saturday afternoon. “Unfortunately, we had 10 victims that got shot.”
Investigators have identified a person of interest, according to the sheriff. “We’re doing all we can to locate this person.”
Coroner Karla Deese identified the men who were killed as 29-year-old Henry Lee Colvin of Rock Hill and 28-year-old Aaron Harris of Kershaw, S.C.
“This event is very tragic and will affect all involved, for years to come,” Deese said. “The sheer magnitude of injury is like none I have seen in my 14 years with the Coroner’s Office.”
Four victims were flown to hospitals after the shooting at the Old Skool Sports Bar & Grill just north of Lancaster, Faile said in a news release earlier Saturday. He told reporters at the news conference that he did not know their conditions. Four other victims were treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries, according to the sheriff.
Another patron was injured in a fall as people fled the bar after the shooting at 2:45 a.m., Faile said.
“This was a violent incident of huge magnitude that was witnessed by lots of people,” Faile said in the release. “Two people are dead, and many more are seriously injured. The shooter or shooters are out there.”
Authorities had not named the person of interest by Saturday afternoon.
The shooter had been “having a beef” for a couple of months with one of the men who was fatally shot, Faile said at the news conference. The other victims “were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.
He did not say which one. He also refused to disclose the type of firearm believed to have been involved in the shooting.
Investigators have interviewed witnesses but still need to interview everyone who was at the club at the time of the shooting, Faile said at the news conference, which the sheriff’s office carried live on Facebook.
Many patrons left the bar “before and as officers arrived,” according to the sheriff. Officers from the Lancaster Police Department and the sheriff’s office responded, according to Faile. The bar is on Old Charlotte Road.
“I encourage those witnesses to contact us immediately so those responsible for these deaths and injuries can be taken into custody,” Faile said in the statement.
According to the release, “a large number of people were inside the bar” at the time, “and shots were fired inside and outside.” Everyone inside was a young adult, the sheriff said at the news conference.
The identities of the surviving victims have not been released.
Investigators obtained warrants to search the bar and vehicles on the property, the sheriff said. Agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division also are helping with the investigation.
Sixth Circuit Solicitor Randy Newman, the top prosecutor for Lancaster County, said Saturday that law enforcement will swiftly and decisively investigate and prosecute mass shootings in Lancaster County.
“This horrific action will not be tolerated and we will not rest until those responsible, whether one or many, are behind bars,” Newman said.
“Lancaster County is filled with loving and law-abiding citizens who are committed to making our community a safe place for all. We are blessed to have many of the best law enforcement officers in the state and I have no doubt they will quickly identify and apprehend those responsible.”
Newman said his office has been appraised of developments in the shooting since it happened, and stands ready to handle prosecution of anyone charged. More, Newman urged anyone with information to call law enforcement immediately as Lancaster together deals with a mass shooting incident that has rocked the community.
“I ask that all citizens keep the victims in their prayers and come forward if they have any information to help law enforcement with this investigation.”
Law enforcement in neighboring York and Lancaster counties and around the state were made aware of the shooting and offered assistance of needed. State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry said SLED will assist in any way it can.
York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson and Chester County Sheriff Max Dorsey each said that their office will help in any way possible.
Tolson described the shooting as “brutal.”
Dorsey called the Lancaster shootings “awful and unacceptable.”
Anyone with information about the shooting should call the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 283-3388 or contact Midlands Crimestoppers at (888) 274-6372.
This is a developing story.