Victim in Evans shootout dies
One of the men wounded Friday in a shootout at an Evans home died Saturday.
Patrick Smith, 33, died shortly after 7 a.m. at Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center, said Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins.
The shooting occurred at 627 Blanchard Road, where Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said resident Philip Marshall, 44, was shot in the back and Smith was shot in the abdomen.
Multiple shots were fired, Morris said.
Both were taken to Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center. Marshall was in serious condition, Morris said.
Deputies interviewed witnesses at the scene, but Morris had no further information Monday on what started the fight.
Though the shooting occurred inside the home, Smith was found sitting in a SUV on the side of Blanchard Road. A handgun was recovered from the vehicle.
Charges are pending, Morris said.
Former baseball star arrested
Former Greenbrier High School baseball star Will Price was among four Spartanburg Methodist College student athletes charged Friday in connection with a Feb. 7 burglary of a Spartanburg, S.C., residence, according to a report Saturday in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.
The Spartanburg Public Safety Department charged Price, 18, of Evans, with second-degree burglary and grand larceny, along with two other freshmen on the college’s baseball team: Michael Landrie, 19, of Spartanburg, and Jeremy Buckner, 18, of Sumter, S.C. Also charged was soccer player Phillip Nelson, 19, of Columbia, S.C., according to the report.
All four were released Monday from the Spartanburg County Detention Center on Monday on $20,000 to $22,000 bonds, according to the jail’s Web site. As a condition of bond, each were fitted with a GPS tracking anklet, said Spartanburg Public Safety Capt. Regina Nowak.
The students are accused of kicking in a door to a Spartanburg home around midday Feb. 7, then taking more than $115,000 worth of jewelry and electronics, according to the newspaper’s report.
Police said about 75 percent of the stolen property has been recovered, and the investigation is ongoing.
Price, a star baseball player for Greenbrier High, was named the 2011 All-County Baseball Player of the Year by The Columbia County News-Times.
Jury convicts man in shooting
A Hephzibah man was sentenced to life in prison Friday after a jury convicted him for the April 1 shooting of a Columbia County wastewater treatment plant employee.
After six hours of deliberation, the jury found guilty Thomas Eugene Bradford Jr., 43, of felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. They acquitted him on a malice murder charge.
Superior Court Judge J. David Roper sentenced Bradford to life in prison, plus five years for the possession charge. He must serve at least 30 years before becoming eligible for parole.
Bradford was convicted of shooting Raymond V. Lee, 38, of Grovetown, after the two argued at the Reed Creek Water Pollution Control Plant in Martinez. Bradford, a Hudsons Grassing Co. driver, was there to pick up a sludge-filled trailer he claimed was overloaded.
After a struggle, Bradford shot Lee once in the chest with a Ruger .380.
The following accounts were taken from reports from The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Additional reports are available at www.columbiacountyso.org:
Possible arson damages fence
Four juveniles were interviewed Sunday after a fire they started likely spread to a nearby wooden fence.
A Creekview Circle man said he returned home at about 12:30 p.m. and noticed the neighbors burning something, assuming it was leaves, in their yard. At about 3:30 p.m., the man and several other nearby residents said they heard a loud bang.
The man said his neighbors knocked on his door to warn him that there was a fire. His neighbors’ fence was burning, so he called 911 and started putting out the blaze.
One juvenile playing baseball nearby said he heard fireworks being lit before the bang. Several witnesses said they saw two juveniles running toward the smoke with towels and possibly a broom and cup of water.
Deputies interviewed four juveniles at the home. They said they lit a pile of leaves with the permission of an adult, who was not at the home. The juveniles said they put the fire out and went inside the house. They, too, heard a loud bang, then saw smoke coming from the fence.
The juveniles deny playing with fireworks.
The investigation was turned over to a Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue investigator. No charges were filed as of Monday.
The investigator determined the juveniles added gasoline and fireworks to the debris pile. The fire spread to the fence and a nearby woodpile.
Sugar poured in truck gas tanks
The owner of an Appling-based landscape company told deputies Friday that someone poured sugar in his business trucks.
At about 7 a.m., the owner of Greatful Landscape Designs called after finding that during the night someone poured sugar into the gas tanks of seven company trucks parked on business property on the 3800 block of White Oak Road.
Deputies found sugar around and in the filler neck of the trucks’ fuel tanks.
Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue activity report for Feb. 19-25:
Medical calls, 17; activated fire alarms, 11; vehicle wrecks, 10; structure fires, five; wood/brush/grass fires, four; mutual aid/public safety assistance, three; damage from inclement weather, three; controlled/unauthorized burns, two; assist citizens, two; bomb threat, one; CPR in progress, one; other fires, one; natural gas leak, one; and vehicle fire, one.