Father of mass shooting victim speaks out during bond hearing

Published: May. 20, 2023 at 6:29 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A man accused of being connected to the mass shooting at Meadowlake Park will remain behind bars.

18-year-old Christopher Pearson was denied bond earlier this afternoon after Sheriff Leon Lott announced his arrest on Friday evening.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says Pearson was arrested at his home and now faces 11 counts of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

On Saturday afternoon a judge determined through Pearson’s charges and a disturbing video of him that he is a danger to the community.

The father of one of the victims, Roger Smith says, “I think that’s excellent. I think the community will be a whole lot safer with him off of the street.”

Roger Smith says his son was one of the 11 people injured the night of the mass shooting.

He said his son was shot in both the arm and leg.

“Mentally he is shaken. He is strong physically; he’s working on it. Every day it’s just a reminder of how precious life is and how thankful we are to have him,” said Smith.

Smith was just one of many family members of victims in the courtroom on Saturday afternoon.

A victims’ advocate read off a long list of injuries sustained that night including one person who suffered broken toes from being shot in the foot.

Another person is in a wheelchair and one victim suffered a broken pelvis and hip from being trampled on while others ran to flee from the gunfire.

“What’s going on nationally with these guns needs to be addressed. It has affected many different communities. No matter what your political affiliation is, it transcends across lives. I think one of the things we need to focus on is bringing the community together. I think Leon Lott is doing a great job but we need to do more as a community,” said Smith.

Pearson denied a screening for a public defender. He told the judge his family was working on hiring an attorney for him.

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