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With 1 dead and 3 injured in shootings, violence shakes Aiken County

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 8:17 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2021 at 4:50 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re learning new details about weekend shootings in Aiken County that left an 18-year-old dead and three people injured.

Among those details: The site of a drive-by shooting near Beech Island had been targeted in a drive-by shooting just days earlier.

Friends mourn slain 18-year-old

Investigators are looking for suspects after one person was killed and three were injured in an outbreak of shootings over the weekend.

The most serious incident left an 18-year-old Aiken man dead early Saturday.

Joseph J. Copeland suffered at least one gunshot wound just before 12:18 a.m. Saturday near an apartment complex on Barnwell Avenue at Kershaw Street.

He was shot by unknown people while sitting in a vehicle with another teen, who then drove Copeland to Aiken Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Copeland will be autopsied today in the case that’s being investigated by the Aiken County Coroner’s Office and Aiken Department of Public Safety.

Friends said Copeland was a loyal friend, who loved music and song-writing.

Two teenagers were reportedly seated inside a vehicle when unknown subjects started shooting...
Two teenagers were reportedly seated inside a vehicle when unknown subjects started shooting into the vehicle, striking Copeland.(WRDW/WAGT)

They say he was always someone you could talk to when you were in need and was kind to everyone.

“That was one thing that really stood out. As soon as you met him he gave off a vibe. A friendly vibe. He never mistreated anyone. He was just always positive. That’s the number one thing I loved about him,” his friend Aleeda Beard said.

“He would give you the last thing he had. And if you needed somebody to talk to, regardless of what time it was, when it was, he was always there.”

They say they hope people will continue to listen to his music to keep his memory alive.

Drive-by shootings injure three

Later in the weekend, separate drive-by shootings left three people with injuries.

Just before 11:30 p.m. Saturday, a woman was injured in a drive-by shooting at 126 Free Indeed Blvd. just outside North Augusta.

The 64-year-old victim was found bleeding from her left arm, according to deputies.

She was taken to an area hospital for treatment. Another person in the home was not injured.

Witnesses reported hearing about nine gunshots just before a sedan was seen driving away.

Authorities said a neighbor told investigators the shooting could be related to an incident involving him from 2020 that has no connection to the injured victim or her address.

Then on Sunday night near Beech Island, two people were injured in another drive-by shooting.

The 46-year-old female and 36-year-old male suffered injuries that weren’t life-threatening, according to authorities.

But the location — 1630 Storm Branch Road near Blackstone Camp Road — had been the site of an earlier drive-by shooting on Wednesday.

That earlier shooting didn’t injure anyone, according to deputies.

Johnson County double homicide

The Aiken County incident followed another shooting that left two people dead across the Savannah River in Georgia.

That double shooting was reported at 1 p.m. Friday 1383 Paul Lord Road in Wrightsville.

There, deputies found Destiny Hope Kight, 18, of Wrightsville and Charles Jaylon Garrett, 18, of East Dublin, deceased from apparent gunshot wounds.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to assist in the investigation.

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