UPDATE | Parent and freshman talk about arrests in South Aiken shooting

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Thursday, Feb. 2 2017

Left: Dedrick Nelson - Right: Rakish Jenkins

UPDATE: 10:45 p.m.

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) Two people have been arrested in connection to South Aiken High School shooting Thursday evening.

Morgan Douthitt is a freshman at South Aiken and was leaving the game when the shooting happened.

"I was scared, and I didn't know what to do," Douthitt said. "I ran."

Douthitt's mom, Melanie Lirley, was at home when she received the call about the shooting, and she said she immediately started to wonder if her daughter was okay.

"I was frightened, worried and afraid because you just don't think that's going to happen at a ballgame," Lirley said.

Dedrick Nelson, 18, and Rakish Jenkins are charged with bringing a weapon on school property.

Aiken Department of Public Safety doesn't believe the two fired the shots that hit three people. Investigators said this is still an active investigation.

Lirley said she is glad at least two of the people involved have been arrested.

"They didn't think they had really any leads so it's a good thing they finally caught some people," Lirley said.

Lirley said of the victims shot during the shooting is one of her daughter's friends.

"It's a scary thing for them, and she knows friends that were right there beside it and that's something they have to deal with forever now," Lirley said.


Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Two people accused in connection with the shooting at South Aiken High School last week have been arrested.

Investigators said Dedrick Dashaun Nelson, 18, and Rakish Jenkins, were arrested on charges including carrying a pistol on school property and unlawful carrying of a pistol.

“These arrests are a result of the team work and cooperative efforts between the Aiken Department of Public Safety, Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) R.A.G.E. Task Force, the Second Judicial Circuit Solicitors Office, SLED , the Aiken County Public School System, and most importantly, the residents of our Aiken Community,” Chief Charles Barranco said.

According to the Aiken Department of Public Safety, the investigation is still very active and ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call public safety at (803) 642-7620.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, has offered a reward up to $10 thousand for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the shooting.

According to the incident report, a responding officer was at the school around 9:07 p.m. Friday when there was a report of a fight just outside the front entrance of the school. A large crowd was in front of the school that had just left the building.

The officer reportedly heard a rapid succession of 3-4 gunshots, and discovered a woman had been shot. Officers on scene treated the woman until EMS arrived. Another victim, a juvenile, was reportedly found at Arby’s on Whiskey Road. Both victims were taken to Augusta University Medical Center. A third victim, also a juvenile, later arrived at Aiken Regional Medical Centers.



Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017 News 12 NBC 26 at 6 O'Clock

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- After school administrators met Monday, the Aiken County School District announced several changes for safety at major sporting events.

This comes after last Friday's shooting at South Aiken High School.

"Horrified to be exact when they said it was an active shooter, what we had heard, active shooter at the basketball game," Aiken County School Board Chairman Levi Green said.

The shooting came as a shock for Aiken County School Board Chairman Levi Green, but he believes with 16 staff members and 6 officers the school was prepared.

"They always ramp up security when we have these rivalry games, we constantly do that, so we believe we had the right staff there," Green said.

But Green and others with the district still believe changes need to happen, including metal detector wands and checking bags when people attend major sporting events like football or basketball games.

"That you will actually now have the scanners at the door so you can check people as they come in and check their backpacks, we certainly encourage them not to bring backpacks, but sometimes they slip through," he said.

The district will require at least 2 metal detectors at each of the 18 middle and high schools in the county. Each one costs around $140 and will be paid by the schools.

"Basically we will check them now, that's what we're doing with the scanners now. We're going to check everything that's coming through the door."

But with Friday's shooting coming outside the gym, Green says they recognize the need to increase security outside.

"We'll have now a game plan when we exit basketball games," Green said, "Certainly at football games you're always on the outside, you have those same large crowds, but at basketball games we typically focus to the inside."

Which means more security as people leave the game.

"When you leave now you'll see the presence of the lights flashing, so that should deter anybody that's trying to congregate if they see law enforcement circling the parking lots, much like you see at you mall," Green said.

The district is hoping to order the metal detector wands this week and then administrators will undergo training to use the detectors and conduct bag searches.


Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Aiken County Schools are taking additional security measures to ensure another shooting incident doesn't occur again at school functions.

According to the school board, each middle and high school will have uniformed police officers to assist with security at all major sporting events. School administrators will develop and execute a plan of supervision, including enhanced security before, during and after the event.

Officers and/or school staff will regularly monitor hallways, common areas, parking lots, and outdoor areas during the event; and officers will secure the building's exterior and parking areas as patrons and students exit the events.

In addition to increased policing of events, school staff will visually search all bags and jackets/coats before entry and metal detectors will be available, visible, and used as deemed necessary. Students and families are asked to leave bags, backpacks, and additional items at home if possible. Concealed weapons are not allowed on school campuses, per South Carolina code.

The school board said that a strong police presence and increased school counseling staff will remain on-site at South Aiken High School at this time.

In a statement, District Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford stated, "Safety is our top priority. We will fully execute our plans to ensure safety both during the school day and at athletic events. Our students and community deserve nothing less."


Monday, Jan. 30, 2017

10:02 p.m.

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A spokesperson for Aiken County Schools says school administrators have been meeting all day long to talk about their safety procedures.

They discussed metal detectors, bag checks, and ways to make their safety protocol better.

School officials say there were 11 faculty members, 5 administrators, and 6 Aiken Department of Public Safety Officers on hand at Friday night's game.



4:48 p.m.

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Cell phone video taken Friday night inside the gym at South Aiken High School shows kids having a good time cheering on their team, but outside the gym that same night it was a different story.

"Kind of a chaotic scene. Just nobody really knowing, but knowing there is a potential for something dangerous," said Robbie Yarborough.

Pastor Robbie Yarborough was working Friday night at a church in eye shot of the gym . His daughter was at the game.

"She was inside the gym and didn't really hear anything. Just saw the after effects of everybody coming back in to escape the immediate danger," said Yarborough.

Aiken Department of Public Safety investigators say just under a thousand people went to Friday nights game.

"It was at the end of the game so you would think there would be a lot of people exiting the game at one time," said Lt. Karl Odenthal.

"Someone has seen something even if they think it's insignificant. We need them to come forward and let us know what happened," said Lt. Karl Odenthal.

Right now deputies don't know if the shooter was a student. They know witnesses say he looked like he was about 18.

"My guess is someone did see something and we just need that person to come forward," said Lt. Karl Odenthal.

The game Friday night was between two rivals South Aiken and Aiken High.

Deputies believe the rivalry is competitive but not violent and has nothing to do with the blood shed outside the gym.

"At this point there is no indication that that had had any play in this at all," said Lt. Karl Odenthal.

While investigators search for the gunman students are back in class with more eyes on them than usual.

"For the first couple of days it's probably the safest place to be with higher public safety presence and I'm sure counselors there," said Yarbourough.



11:01 a.m.

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) – Investigators are still looking for a suspect in a shooting following a basketball game at South Aiken High School.

According to the incident report, a responding officer was at the school around 9:07 p.m. Friday when there was a report of a fight just outside the front entrance of the school. A large crowd was in front of the school that had just left the building.

The officer reportedly heard a rapid succession of 3-4 gunshots, and discovered a woman had been shot. Officers on scene treated the woman until EMS arrived. Another victim, a juvenile, was reportedly found at Arby’s on Whiskey Road. Both victims were taken to Augusta University Medical Center. A third victim, also a juvenile, later arrived at Aiken Regional Medical Centers.

Investigators found 9 mm bullet casings at the scene. They believe the suspect to be a black male between 18 and 35 years old. He was possibly wearing a hooded sweatshirt that was green, gray, or blue in color at the time of the incident.

All the victims were treated for non-life threatening injuries. The incident is still under investigation.



Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Police say prior to the Aiken vs South Aiken basketball game a teen was arrested for having a firearm.

Aiken Public Safety officers say before the game an administrator noticed a 15 year-old teen had what appeared to be a gun on them.

The administrator alerted law enforcement. Police found the firearm and arrested the teen. The gun was not loaded.

Officers say the teen was taken to the Juvenile Justice Center in Columbia.

Investigators are exploring the possibility of this event being related to the shooting that happened after the game Friday night.


Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017

4:52 p.m.

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Aiken Public Safety says one person fired several shots after a fight broke out outside of the school building in front of the school.

Investigators say the fight happened at around 9:05 p.m. after the game. During the fight one person fired several shots, hitting three people.

A 45-year-old woman was hit in the thigh. She was reportedly in front of the school during the fight.

Soon afterwards, Public Safety was called to a fast food restaurant on Whiskey Road where a second victim was found. The victim, a 13 year-old-girl was shot in the lower leg.

A third victim, a 19-year-old man, was brought to Aiken Regional Medical Center. He was shot in the hand and leg.

None of the injuries appear to be life threatening.

Investigators say there were six off duty Aiken Public Safety Officers helping with security. They had additional law enforcement there to help with the large crowd of nearly 1,000 people.

The release says after the shooting officers helped with first aid and began to search for the shooter.

As of now, investigators have not been able to identify the shooter and have not found the weapon. There have been a number of leads and suspect descriptions.

Now the Aiken Department of Public Safety is working with the school district and the high schools to help identify possible witnesses.

The statement includes a quote from Aiken Public Safety Chief Charles Barranco.

“The level of cooperation and assistance from the school district and area law enforcement has been tremendous. Aiken Public Safety has spoken with and interviewed many who were in attendance at last night’s game, but we know there are more potential witness yet to come forward. We urge anyone with information, no matter how big or how small to contact Lieutenant Billy Cameron at Aiken Public Safety (803) 642-7740.”

Anyone with any information on the shooting is asked to call Crimestoppers at 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372). You can remain anonymous.

A full copy of the statement can be found to the right of this article.



4:39 p.m.

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The City of Aiken's Communication Manager issued a statement after a shooting at South Aiken High School Friday night.

The statement says city leaders are monitoring the situation and are working closely with law enforcement as well as the school district.

It says, "Aiken Public Safety, the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office and SLED are working tirelessly to apprehend the person who fired multiple shots, resulting in non-life-threatening injuries to three people."

Mayor Rick Osbon also issued a statement:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and all those who were at the traumatic event that occurred as students and fans were leaving South Aiken High School after a basketball game Friday night. Actions like this will not and cannot be tolerated in our City. While we know individual acts of evil will always be a threat, the perpetrator of this crime must know that there will be consequences for this action. Chief Barranco and his staff have been keeping City Council and City Manager John Klimm fully updated on the ongoing investigation. We are extremely grateful to our dedicated Public Safety Officers who have been in the field following leads since the event occurred. We stand with the Chief and Aiken Public Safety as they work to bring the guilty person into custody and to bring justice to the victims and all those affected by this heinous crime.”

City Manager John Klimm also issued a statement on the matter. He says safety and security are their top priority and he will not rest until safety is assured in the city.

“Recent incidents of violence like this one and the shooting at the Pacer’s Run Apartments are a challenge that we intend to meet head on. In the coming days and weeks, the City’s leaders and our Department of Public Safety will be working very closely with our community to address solutions to the problem quickly and aggressively,” said Klimm.

A full copy of the city's statement can be found to the right of this story.



10:05 a.m.

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- School district officials release statement in response to Friday night's shooting.

The Aiken County Public School District released this statement on social media last night:

"As many students and families are aware, there were gunshots fired just outside near the front entrance of South Aiken High School following a basketball game this evening. Three victims sustained gunshot wounds and are being treated at local hospitals. All injuries appear to be non-life threatening at this time. School officials are continuing to work with law enforcement throughout the investigation. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact Aiken Public Safety or Crime Stoppers of the Midlands, 1-888-CRIME-SC."

Aiken Public Safety officers have not released any new updates at this time.

They say three people were injured in the shooting. No suspect is in custody at this time.



Friday, Jan. 27, 2017

11:09 p.m.

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Three people were shot at South Aiken High School , according to the Aiken Public Safety Department.

One of the victims was found at at nearby fast food restaurant with a gunshot wound.

The victims are at a local hospital. The names of the victims have not been released

The officers on scene of the shooting were working the South Aiken verses Aiken basketball game.

There is no longer an active shooter scene at the high school, but officer are still investigating.

No suspect is in custody at this time.



9:34 p.m.

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Aiken Public Safety officers are responding to a possible shooting at South Aiken High School.

Lt. Karl Odenthal, with the Aiken Public Safety Department, says the agency did receive a report about shots fired at South Aiken High and officers are responding to the scene.

The view from our Live Eye Camera network in Aiken shows a large police on the streets around the school.

He says the situation is developing and more information will be released as it is available.

South Aiken was hosting a basketball game against Aiken High Friday night.