Several people were injured when a man opened fire outside a Lyman, South Carolina, nightclub last Sunday, but no lives were lost due to the actions of a licensed concealed weapons permit holder.
Local news outlet WSPA reports that the shooting happened at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning outside Playoffz Night Club in Lyman, South Carolina. Unlike the recent mass nightclub shooting in Florida, the shooting in this case does not appear to have been a premeditated act. Sheriff’s deputies say that the shooter, Jody Ray Thompson, argued with another man outside the nightclub before opening fire.
During the argument, the shooter allegedly pulled out a gun and fired at the crowd that was gathered near the front of the Lyman club.
Three patrons were struck when the shooter fired into the crowd, and a fourth bullet nearly missed another. Each of the victims suffered injuries, but none of them were life threatening, according to Lt. Kevin Bobo of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Department.
The fourth near-victim, who wasn’t actually hit by any gunfire, then pulled his own gun and fired back at the shooter.
“His rounds struck three victims, and almost struck a fourth victim, who in self-defense, pulled his own weapon and fired, striking Thompson in the leg,” Lt. Kevin Bobo told WISTV.
According to Lt. Bobo, the second shooter was a legal concealed weapons permit holder in South Carolina, and he successfully disabled the nightclub gunman by shooting him in the leg.
The Spartanburg Herald-Journal reports that the scene at the Lyman, South Carolina-area nightclub was chaotic when deputies first arrived. Thompson had not left the scene, possibly due to the injury to his leg, but it wasn’t immediately clear that he was the shooter. Deputies had to interview witnesses and go over security camera footage to determine that Thompson had indeed opened fire on the crowd after an intense argument.
According to the Herald-Journal, the victims appear to have been random. One was even in her car getting ready to drive home when a bullet hit her in the pelvis.
“I went out the door and straight to my car. I got in my car an was trying to crank up my car. I put my phone in the charger, and the next thing I know, I hear gunshots,” the victim told the Herald-Journal. “I leaned over for protection and when I leaned back up I saw blood. I saw I had been shot.”
The victim is recovering, but she still has a bullet lodged in her pelvis, and doctors are not yet sure how to remove it without causing further damage. The other two victims received less serious injuries.
The Herald-Journal obtained Thompson’s criminal record, which revealed that he was not legally allowed to possess a firearm. Prior convictions, dating back to 2003, include criminal domestic violence, public disorderly conduct, and discharging a firearm.
The alleged nightclub shooter will now face charges that include four counts of attempted murder, unlawful carrying of a weapon, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, according to the Spartanburg sheriff’s office.
While Thompson was not legally entitled to purchase or own a gun, sheriff’s deputies said that the man who took him down was a legal gun owner. Although the man was not named, deputies did state that he holds a concealed weapons permit that is valid in South Carolina. Since his permit was valid, and he was acting in self defense, Lt. Bobo confirmed that he will not face charges for shooting the nightclub gunman in the leg.
[Photo courtesy Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office]