COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - “Stay calm” and “get down” were the words from a local city leader, warning people to seek shelter as they witnessed a deadly shooting near the restaurant they were eating at Saturday afternoon.
Officers arrived at the 4000 block of Rosewood Drive shortly after 1 p.m. on Saturday after a shooting was reported.
Columbia City Councilman Howard Duvall said he was eating lunch with his family at a restaurant in the same plaza where the shooting took place.
“We noticed there was a lady who had a takeout, trying to leave the restaurant and you could tell she was afraid to go out the door,” Duvall said.
Duvall tells WIS he knew something was wrong.
“We could hear some commotion, so I got up to see if I could assist the lady,” Duvall said. “We went outside to try to get to her car, and then I saw it was getting to be a heated argument and we went back inside as the fellow drew a pistol.”
Police said witnesses told them Justin Archie and another man were arguing inside a business.
They said the argument carried into the parking lot, where officers say Archie was armed with a knife, and then grabbed a gun from his car.
That's when, according to police, Archie fired at the other man, who then also grabbed a gun and returned fire, hitting the 30-year-old in the torso.
“I think everybody was scared about half the people were underneath the tables. It was like a surreal moment. It was like the things you see on tv but you never expect to be in the middle of it,” Duvall said. “I asked people to stay calm, get down, and get away from the windows and call 911 and tell them shots fired.”
Duvall said law enforcement responded quickly.
“Police were there within seconds and had the situation well under control. There was a lot of bullets,” Duvall said.
Police initially took one person into custody, but said no charges will be filed, as it was determined the shooting was an act of self-defense.
In a statement sent to WIS, the Little Gym said: “We were shocked and saddened to hear about this tragic situation. Our location is cooperating with local authorities to ensure this matter is thoroughly investigated. We are grateful for the swift response of local police and are keeping all involved in our thoughts.”