Two South Carolina soldiers were gunned down while protecting a woman from a person who was attacking her at a bar. The brave soldiers paid the ultimate price for being good Samaritans.
The military community is collectively mourning the death of two brave and kindhearted soldiers who stepped in to protect a woman who was being chased and attacked by a disgruntled man. The men saved the woman from her tormentor. However, her attacker drew a handgun and shot the soldiers, reportedly in cold blood.
Sgt. Charles Judge, Jr., 40, and 29-year-old Jonathan Michael Prins were fatally shot by Joseph Elijah Mills on Saturday night outside the Frayed Knot Bar and Grill in Lake Murray, S.C., outside of Columbia. Their 25-year-old alleged murderer was arrested and has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder. He was presented before the court where apologized for his actions, but maintains he shot in defense. The judged denied bond. Mills is currently being held at a Lexington County jail.
During his arraignment, the accused apologized for the slaying, but insisted that he felt the soldiers were about to “lynch” him and he shot them in self-defense. Judge Arthur Myers warned Mills plenty of times not to speak during his hearing, reported The State. However, he managed to say,
“I’m very sorry about what happened. I never meant for it to happen like that. I was being lynched by eight people because I was chasing a girl who grabbed drugs off the seat and took off running.”
After shooting the two soldiers, Mills, who lives in Little Mountain, north of Lake Murray, fled the crime scene, but was apprehended by authorities late Sunday afternoon, reported the Army Times.
Mills was packing a gun when he entered the bar in South Carolina, and while allegedly beating the woman, was intercepted by the soldiers who stood between him and her. The soldiers paid for their bravery with their lives as Mills then proceeded to shoot them both at close range.
The Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher identified the two victims, reported Fox News. While one of the soldiers died on the scene, the other was rushed to a hospital nearby, but medical staff couldn’t save him. The fatal injury he received from the bullet wound killed him, noted Lexington County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Capt. Adam Myrick in a statement.
Authorities claim they have surveillance video which indicates Mills might have been involved in an altercation with a woman outside the bar. After the woman entered the bar, Mills threateningly followed her. According to the arrest warrant obtained by NBC News, Mills “physically assaulted a female companion and was physically separated from her by several bar patrons.”
Mills is said to have severely assaulted the woman. He allegedly slammed her into a railing. Among the people who intervened in the fight between Mills and the unidentified woman were the soldiers. It is believed the woman sustained serious injuries, but the authorities haven’t divulged her condition.
Justin Brooks, the owner of the bar, said Mills was kicking and hitting the victim on the ground, but several patrons stepped in to stop the assault. While some of the men, including the soldiers, had pinned Mills to the ground, he fired shots in the air. Sensing the situation, Judge and Prins raised their hands and were attempting to reason with him, when Mills shot them in cold blood, claims Brooks.
According to the records, Lexington deputies claim the soldiers attempted to resolve the situation peacefully, but Mills pulled out a handgun and proceeded to shoot both of them, continued the warrant,
“Mills then presented a handgun and fired the fatal shots.”
Mills shot Judge twice, while Prins was hit three times. According to the GoFundMe Page, Prins leaves behind a wife and three small children.
[Photo by Jill Waterman/Getty Images]