Richland County Sheriff Blames Bar for Gang Issues in Popular Columbia District

According to Richland County sheriff, Leon Lott, the gang problem in in Columbia’s Five Points entertainment district isn’t getting better. In fact, it’s getting worse. He claims that a large part of the problem is a bar, The Library, that has a reputation for being gang member friendly.

f-fields-a-20151030-870x489

Lott recently launched an investigation that involved sending officers into the bar. Some of these officers wore uniforms, while others when undercover. Based on the information collected by both sets of officers, a single gang is hard at work trying to claim the bar as their own. Not only do they get into fights with rival gangs, but they have also taken to robbing anyone who isn’t connected to the gang and is in the area after midnight.

This isn’t the first time The Library has drawn heat from local law enforcement. Court records indicate that it has a history of police citations as being the site of both illegal activity and bar fights.

LineaThe recent shooting in Five Points that left a University of South Carolina student who was waiting for a taxi paralyzed has drawn media attention to the gang problem in the area, as well as triggered a public demand for local law enforcement to crack down on all gang related activity.

According to Lott, shutting down The Library would be the first step in helping reduce gang activity. He points out that bar has had an opportunity to regulate the gang clientele it attracts but that management has chosen not to do so.

“They need to close and they need to cease the type of operations they’re doing right now,” he told reporters. “They are the sore spot in the Five Points area.”

Justin Kershner who owns The Library quickly pointed out that it’s not fair to cite his establishment as the source of all the trouble just because it happens to be the only bar in Five Points. “By targeting my place because I have a predominantly black crowd in my business… what you’re telling me, as an American citizen, is that every black person is a gangster.”

Lott admits that his undercover operation was done without the permission of the Columbia Police Department who officially provide protection to Five Points. He claims he didn’t seek the assistance of the CPD because he didn’t want to have to cut through all the red tape involved in obtaining permission.

“I don’t have to ask permission,” Lott said. “If it’s a law enforcement function that we need to get done, then we go out and we get it done.” Justin Kershner, the interim police chief of the Columbia Police Department says he has no objections with the way Lott handled the matter.

Main_SRO_LOTT-1 (2)

Attorney Joseph Sandefur of South Carolina’s top personal injury firm Joe and Martin hopes the investigation is the first step in cleaning up the Five Points area. “People who venture into Five Points, shouldn’t have to worry about getting shot or robbed while they’re there. I hope local law enforcement continues to work to eradicate the gang contingency in the area.”

Home Invasion Victim Says She Was Threatened with a Hammer

Thursday morning didn’t start off well for Mary Mister, 61. At approximately 2:30 a.m. she jerked awake after hearing a noise. She tried to ignore it, but the sound kept nagging at her. After a few moments, she decided she wouldn’t be able to fall back to sleep if she didn’t check it out, so that’s exactly what she did.

hammerShe didn’t expect to find herself face to face with a man who had a hammer in his hand and who swore he was ready to use it on Mary if she did anything to try to stop him from robbing her home.

“She told me she was asleep and when she woke up the guy stood over her with a hammer and said ‘Don’ t you move’. He got up and put her on the floor and said don’t move,” Mary’s husband, George told members of the press.

When he realized Mary believed him, Mary told the police he than proceeded to throw a sheet over her, most likely to conceal his identity. Once she was covered, he went through the house, taking jewelry, televisions, and anything else of value he was able to find. It’s estimated he left the house with approximately $9,000 worth of the Mister’s personal property.

“They got her purse and ID and credit cards and everything,” George Mister said.

While Mary was able to get through the home invasion without any physical injuries, the entire experience was psychologically scarring. Her husband, who got home approximately 15 minutes after the home invasion took place, reports that the ordeal left her traumatized.

f581a0ef610032dd659f9e1e87457fa6

“When I came home from work about 4 o’clock, I opened the door and saw stuff on the floor and I thought something happened to my wife and I said ‘Mary, Mary’. She was in the room here crying,” said Mister. “I wanted to call police but I didn’t have a phone. He took everything, phone, TVs, I’m just so upset right now,”

Mary Mister reports that she still doesn’t know how the man managed to break into their home. Local police are examining the house in an attempt to determine the point of entry. In a blitz approach, the rapist uses a direct, injurious physical assault which subdues and physically injures the victim. The attacker may also use chemicals or gases but most frequently makes use of his ability to physically overpower a woman. Interestingly, despite its simplicity,

Mary described the assailant as a slender man in his 30’s who was wearing beige Nike shoes that were tied with bright orange shoelaces.

personal-injury-claims“I’m so glad this story doesn’t have a tragic ending, like so many other home invasion stories do,” Joe and Martin, a managing personal injury attorney at Myrtle Beach, said when he learned about Mary Mister’s ordeal. “The best way to handle a home invasion is to do exactly as Mary did, to let comply with what the burglar told her and let him take her stuff. As a result of her letting the thief do as he wished. Mary is alive and physically unharmed.”

If you have been injured during a home invasion, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the individual who broke into your home. Contact us to learn more about your legal options.