Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said a bloody melee at a Columbia motorcycle shop that left one man dead and others shot or stabbed was the result of a standoff between members of two “outlaw biker gangs.”
The incident happened at Capital City Cycles on Two Notch Road on Thursday. One person — Charles E. Lilly, 55, of Beech Island — was killed in the fracas, while at least two others were shot and one person was stabbed, according to the sheriff’s department.
Lott said Monday that Lilly was killed after being struck on the head several times by a cane. James Hill, 58, has been charged with murder and first-degree assault by mob. Hill allegedly wielded the cane that struck Lilly in the head, swinging it into a pile of bodies that were fighting. Lott said Lilly and Hill are actually thought to be members of the same biker gang.
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Kristopher Wheat, 36, has been charged with first-degree assault by mob, obstruction of justice and unlawful possession of a pistol in the case, the sheriff’s department said.
Two people shot in the melee remained hospitalized as of Monday, Lott said, and a third who was stabbed had been released from the hospital.
The sheriff said everyone involved in the violence will be charged.
“Whatever we can charge them with, they are going to be charged with,” Lott said.
Lott said the incident was “mayhem there for a while” and that, when deputies arrived, “the fighting and shooting and stabbing and beating was all in progress.”
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The sheriff declined to name the biker gangs with which the men are allegedly associated, though he did say they were affiliated with “national” biker groups.
“You look at this and shake your head and (think) ‘How can people do something like this?’” Lott said. “This just shows the mentality of gangs. It doesn’t matter what kind of gang it is. It’s the mentality they have, where they think they can do anything, anywhere, at any time.”