COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Bullets have ripped into homes at least 96 times this year in the county that encompasses South Carolina's capital — most involving rival gangs — and the latest episode left an off-duty sheriff's deputy and his fiancee wounded even though they weren’t the intended targets, authorities said Tuesday.
The drive-by shooting over the weekend at a suburban Columbia home struck Cpl. Terrance Crawford and his fiancee in the legs, said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott at a news conference.
Lott said Crawford works as a police officer at a school in Columbia and wasn't targeted in the shooting, without providing details. The sheriff said there were eight people in the home Sunday night.
“His marked police car was parked in front of the house,” Lott said. “There is no doubt they knew that was a Richland County deputy in that house.”
Investigators have identified several people who may have been involved in the shooting, he said.
This was the 96th time in 2023 someone has fired into a residence in Richland County, which is home to about 420,000 people, Lott said.
Most of the shootings involved rival gangs, he said.
“It's just stupid gang stuff,” the sheriff said. “They sneak around like a bunch of little cowards during the darkness, and then sneak off like a snake at night to try to get away.”
The Richland County Sheriff's Office did not say Tuesday how many people have been killed or injured by shootings into homes this year, and required a Freedom of Information Act request to release those figures and other related information.