The last time acquaintances of Ronald Reid gathered in the same room with loved ones of the man he fatally shot outside a North Charleston motorcycle shop, dueling accusations of murder and an argument of self-defense prompted emotions to boil.
Attributed to a squabble between members of different motorcycle clubs, the shooting in June led to three deaths and three arrests.
During the initial bond hearing for Reid, members of a police gang unit, court deputies and security officers quelled the loved ones’ tearful outburst. Everyone left in peace.
But that courtroom episode is one reason why deputies are taking extra care if the two groups meet again at 10 a.m. Thursday during preliminary hearings for Reid, who faces a murder charge, and for 32-year-old North Carolina resident Barry Stinson, accused of participating in a skirmish before the gunfire June 29 at Cycle Gear.
Authorities are watching for trouble between the motorcycle groups that Reid and the shooting victim, 41-year-old Maurice Horry of Columbia, were affiliated with. The Wheels of Soul and Outcast clubs have butted heads elsewhere in the past.
Capt. Kevin Whited of the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, which coordinates security at county courthouses, said authorities hadn’t received specific threats, but they will take the precautions because “there could possibly be an issue,” he said. Whited declined to detail the measures.
“There’s nothing concrete,” Whited said. “But based on the seriousness of what occurred, we felt there needed to be extra security.”
Reid’s attorney, Andy Savage of Charleston, will argue that the Summerville man, who turns 44 on Thursday, was acting in self-defense when he shot Horry. Savage said video footage and other evidence support his client’s claim.
It is unlikely, Savage said, that a murder charge would be dismissed during the preliminary phase. If the case continues toward a trial, Savage said he would ask a circuit judge to bar prosecution of Reid under South Carolina’s “stand your ground” statute, which permits deadly force if the person acts in self-defense while otherwise abiding by the law. Reid has a concealed-weapons permit.
The confrontation arose when Horry and a riding buddy traveled past a cookout attended by bikers associated with the Wheels of Soul.
The duo, who were in the Outcast-affiliated Real Kings, continued across the street to Cycle Gear, where police said Wheels of Soul members approached them. An ensuing fight spilled from the store into the parking lot.
Police said Horry fetched a handgun from his motorcycle and returned to where his friend was beaten unconscious. Reid and Horry exchanged gunfire, but detectives haven’t said who squeezed a trigger first.
Reid was hit in the leg, and Horry suffered a fatal chest wound.
Wheels of Soul members Theodore Waymyers Jr., 36, of Summerville, and Carlos Davis, 39, of Columbia, also were slain, but authorities haven’t confirmed who shot them.
Like Stinson, 49-year-old Derryl Gadson of West Ashley faces a charge of second-degree assault by mob. His attorney, Stephen Schmutz of Charleston, waived a preliminary hearing as part of a legal strategy.
Schmutz was aware of authorities’ safety fears, but he said Gadson has no criminal record and comes from a widely respected family. Gadson belonged to the Band of Bruthaz and wore the patch of the Wheels of Soul umbrella group.
“He’s a working man,” Schmutz said, “who happened to be in a motorcycle club purely for social reasons.”
Gadson is free on $500,000 bail, but the other suspects remain jailed. Attorneys for Stinson and Reid will ask Circuit Judge Markley Dennis for a bail reduction at 9 a.m. Friday.
But if the lawyers successfully argue Thursday in front of Magistrate James Gosnell, their charges could be dropped altogether.
The defendants’ absence at the proceeding could help allay any security threat, officials said.
Gosnell expressed no fears about safety in his North Charleston courtroom, but he said he understood that deputies wanted to “err on the side of caution.”
The attorney for Stinson, Laree Hensley of North Charleston, hoped the concerns were “overrated.”
“I am not sure what, if anything,” Hensley said, “is fueling this fire.”
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.