A 23-year-old man arrested early Sunday said he was a felon and had brought a pistol to a nightclub near North Charleston because he liked to party but feared violence, an incident report stated.
The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office said Jaton Lamont Edwards, of Pine Forest Drive in North Charleston, pointed the weapon at bouncers who tried to talk with him outside Charlie O’s, at 4224 Dorchester Road.
He faces charges of pointing and presenting a firearm and unlawfully carrying a firearm at an establishment that serves alcohol. He was jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Despite his alleged comment to deputies that he’s a felon, sheriff’s Maj. Jim Brady said his criminal record contains no felony convictions.
A bouncer at the club told deputies that he had seen Edwards and a friend of Edwards earlier in the evening at Club Ocean in Berkeley County. The friend was seen hanging out a window of Edwards’ car with a gun in his hand, the report stated.
When the bouncer saw the car again at Charlie O’s, the bouncer and two fellow security officers walked up to it.
The trio detained the friend, then when they walked to the driver’s side to get Edwards, one of the bouncers said Edwards reached into his waistband and pulled out a loaded .40-caliber Smith and Wesson, the sheriff’s report stated.
The bouncer, who has a concealed-weapons permit and thought Edwards was pointing the pistol at him, pulled out his own gun. Edwards dropped his Smith and Wesson, and the bouncers handcuffed him, according to the report.
Edwards told deputies that he bought the gun a few weeks ago and brought it to the club “because he knows there are always shootings on the interstate” between people leaving the club, the report stated.
“He also stated that he was a convicted felon who could not possess a gun,” the report stated, “but he really liked to party and felt he needed to be armed to get safely home.”
Edwards is serving two years of probation for possession of less than a gram of methamphetamine or crack cocaine, a misdemeanor.
He also was convicted of unlawfully carrying a firearm, also a misdemeanor, after an arrest in September 2008 in North Charleston. Charleston police also arrested him in May 2012 on a charge of armed robbery with a deadly weapon; that case still is pending.
Deputies said Edwards and his friend gave conflicting stories about whether anyone had flashed a gun at the Berkeley County club.
Edwards was arrested, and his friend was released. Detectives in Berkeley County were notified of the deputies’ encounter, the report stated.
In February, 22-year-old Miquel Snipe was fatally shot on Saratoga Road, about 1 mile from Charlie O’s. The shooting was said to be linked to a fight at the club earlier that evening.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
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