Shots fired in south Columbia leave many in shock
COLUMBIA - Residents in south Columbia are stunned today because of shots fired Thursday.
At 1:46 P.M., officers responded to shots fired call next to Bethel Park. Police say a woman was set to meet Thomas Kim at the park for a drug deal. Investigators claim while waiting to complete the deal, Kim approached the 18-year-old, and he fired a shot with a handgun. The police report says Kim ran away, the woman followed him, and saw him get into a black vehicle.
Police say the victim followed Kim and the 16-year-old driver into the 4300 block of Needham Court, across from Gentry Middle School, where more shots were fired. Both cars were seen speeding out of the cul de sac.
One of the residents living on Needham Court, Logan Parks, says the gunshots came from right outside his home.
"I just happened to hear some wild tire squealing, and I looked out my window, and there was a black, had to be a 2000, Impala firing at this red F150," Parks said. "And it was just the wildest thing. I thought I was in a deep sleep, I thought I was dreaming, but unfortunately it was real."
Parks called police and, at 8:50 P.M., police found the juvenile driver and Kim near Fall River and South Hampton Drive. Officers arrested Kim, and the 16-year-old driver was taken into custody. Officers reported that Kim was planning on robbing the victim and that the handgun used was reported as stolen.
The children of Gentry Middle School are normally released from school 15 minutes before three o'clock. The parents line the streets to wait for their children. Some parents arrive an hour before this, at about 1:45 P.M. Even though this action happened just next door, many parents were not aware of the situation.
KOMU talked with many of these parents, including Annette Horman. Most were quite surprised.
"First of all, I didn't know anything about it until you just told me," Horman said. "But after you told me the details it concerns me because I think that the police could have possibly put the school on a lock down situation."
But the school did not go into lockdown. In fact, the school was completely unaware of the shots.
Both Horman and Parks said this behavior is unusual for this part of town, and neither have ever witnessed anything like this in this area before.
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