Authorities in South Carolina said three teenagers shot and killed their schoolmates over a “stupid” years-long feud. Per the New York Post, the fatal Sunday incident occurred outside an abandoned home, and another 14-year-old was also injured from the shooting.
The suspects linked to the shootings were identified as Jahkeem Griffin, 17, Karlos Gibson, 17, and an unidentified 14-year-old. The three have since been charged with three counts of murder, attempted murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, and possession of a handgun under the age of 18.
“Over something stupid. Over something that happened a couple of years ago. A beef that just continues to grow and then young people decide that they’re going to solve it by shooting,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said at a press conference.
“You have three teens who will never see adulthood. This is because of what? A disagreement? ‘I don’t like you, you did something to me, so I’m gonna pay you back, so I’m gonna kill you’?”
Police said the victims were outside the abandoned building when the three suspects confronted and shot at them. The deceased victims were identified as 16-year-old Jakobe Fanning, Caleb Wise, 16, and Dre’Von Riley, 17. They all attended Eau Claire High School.
Lott said the feud between the teens had to do with a burglary incident that occurred two years ago. Griffin and Gibson were also students at Eau Claire High School while the surviving victim and the unidentified gunman studied at the same middle school, the New York Post reported.
On Monday, the district added extra security and counseling at the high school for the “unimaginable tragedy” that occurred. District superintendent Craig Witherspoon also described the incident as “senseless gun violence.”
And though Lott did not provide details on how the teens got their hands on the murder weapons, he highlighted the cases of gun thefts from cars in Columbia, saying there was a high number of gun owners leaving their weapons in their vehicles.
“I’ve talked about many times where a gun is gonna get you one or two places: It’s gonna be the cemetery or prison, and yesterday we saw that play out again,” said Lott. “You stand here and you shake your head and just wonder why. Why can’t these kids do something else besides just resort to violence and using guns? Doesn’t solve a problem. Doesn’t make anything better. It just makes it worse.”
Griffin and Gibson will be tried as adults while a judge will determine if the 14-year-old suspect’s case will remain in juvenile court.