Investigators ponder link in Goose Creek shootings after car is peppered with bullets
Goose Creek — The holes were marked with yellow flags and dowels indicating the trajectories that 18 bullets took when they peppered the car early Tuesday.
Three of the four people inside suffered gunshot or shrapnel wounds during the 2 a.m. attack as the Nissan Maxima sat at the intersection of Red Bank Road and Howe Hall Road.
Two young women who were sitting in the back seats, where most of the gunfire was targeted, suffered “major” wounds, according to an incident report from the Goose Creek Police Department.
But much about what occurred remained unknown after investigators examined the car, which was parked at police headquarters. Capt. John Grainger said that they had no suspects, but that the victims might not be telling police the whole story.
The victims said they had left Club Pluto at 1230 Red Bank Road when someone drove up to them and opened fire. That story resembles two other shootings in the past four months in which motorists reported being shot at after leaving the club.
No arrests have been made in any of the incidents.
Capt. Rick Ollic of the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, which has jurisdiction over the business location, said his agency is working with Goose Creek detectives to determine whether the shootings are linked.
“We’re reviewing our cases to see if they’re in any way connected,” Ollic said. “We’re trying to figure out what’s going on there, too.”
Grainger said 21-year-old Brittany Sharee Middleton of Fort Johnson Road on James Island was the most critically hurt in Tuesday’s gunfire. Her chest wound required surgery, but her condition was not known Tuesday afternoon.
The police report also indicated that Jaytee Clavousea Bright, 19, of Gwinnett Street in North Charleston was shot and might have had internal bleeding.
Andre Alphaes Seabrook, a 26-year-old resident of Apartment Boulevard in North Charleston, who is on probation for possessing cocaine, suffered a minor injury before he drove the car to Trident Medical Center after the shooting.
Touvaruss Antrail Jones, 20, of Norden Street in North Charleston, who was not hurt as he sat in the front passenger seat, told police that his companions had just left Club Pluto when he heard gunfire, the report stated. He didn’t know who was shooting.
Hours later, little activity along Red Bank Road hinted at the chaos earlier in the morning. Two police cars were parked in the median on either side of the Howe Hall Road intersection.
At the nightclub, a man emerged and shooed away a reporter. He declined to reveal his identity and said that his club had no name. The facade of the establishment, which is in the Creek Bank Plaza, features no sign other than one indicating its entrance.
“It’s a private club,” the man said. “Everybody who comes here, we know. We don’t have any problems like that.”
But the club has been labeled as the source of several instances of violence.
In October, a 55-year-old photographer at the club said he was driving home on NAD Road when a vehicle sped up and one of its occupants opened fire. Alvin Jenkins was shot in the buttocks as he reached for his own gun.
As was the case in Tuesday’s shooting, Jenkins drove himself to Trident Medical Center.
Then in early December, two motorists exchanged gunfire on Red Bank Road before one of them wrecked at Henry E. Brown Jr. Boulevard. The man told the Sheriff’s Office that he had just left Club Pluto when someone pulled up and started shooting. He escaped injury.
In the street, deputies found 11 shell casings from a 9 mm handgun and a bullet hole in the awning of a Circle K.
The gunfire has been cause for concern among business owners, workers and residents in this corridor lined with gas stations, bars and Goose Creek High School.
Across the street from the club at Merly’s Pub, owner Merly Thompson said she tries to run a peaceful business where patrons can down a beer and shoot a game of pool. She closed up shop just after midnight Monday and was asleep when the commotion erupted.
Thompson said she would rather focus on her bar’s pool team, which recently competed in Las Vegas, than on fretting about violence.
“Bullets are flying, and I don’t know what’s going on,” she said. “Safety is more important than making a few bucks.”
Jesus Reyes, 44, who lives on nearby Plainfield Avenue, said he trusts the neighborhood he has called home for a decade, but not the outsiders who hang out in some of the bars.
“They come out and shoot at cars, but they miss,” Reyes said. “Someone in one of these homes could get shot.”
Mung T. Bui, who works at a laundry facility in the same plaza as the club, said she’s seen blood and glass in the parking lot but has never witnessed violence.
She said she typically finishes her work shift before patrons start pouring into the club late in the evening.
“They have no name, no sign, no nothing,” she said of the club. “I don’t know what goes on over there.”
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.