On the night he fatally shot a man outside a North Charleston motorcycle shop, Ronald Reid stuck to his story.

He wasn’t part of the group that instigated a fight leading to the shooting, he told detectives. He said he punched someone only after someone hit him as he tried to leave Cycle Gear on Dorchester Road.

He saw 41-year-old Maurice Horry in the parking lot shaking a gun in his hand, but Reid said he didn’t draw his own pistol and fire until after a bullet pierced his right leg as he ducked for cover.

The round Reid fired that day buried into Horry’s heart and killed him.

During a preliminary hearing Thursday, Reid’s attorney, Andy Savage, argued that it wasn’t possible for his client to have fired the first shot.

Reid is accused of shooting one person, Horry, but two others also died. Reid and Horry are thought to be the only shooters.

But if Horry had suffered a fatal wound before he opened fire, Savage said, he wouldn’t have had a chance to shoot anything.

The attorney also pointed out a police detective’s acknowledgment that no evidence or witness statements, other than Reid’s own words, put him inside the store that day.

Those are reasons why Savage asked a magistrate to dismiss the murder charge that Reid, a 44-year-old Summerville resident, faces in the June 29 incident that authorities said was the result of feuding motorcycle clubs.

“It’s a simple case,” Savage said. “It’s self-defense.”

Magistrate James Gosnell sighed and said, “Nothing’s easy these days.”

“There are never any winners when it comes to this,” Gosnell said. “Everybody lost that day.”

Gosnell allowed the murder case to proceed toward trial, but the hearing helped reveal Reid’s self-defense claim, something supporters have argued since the shootings.

Horry’s mother praised Gosnell’s decision.

“God is not dead,” said Virginia Horry, of Mount Pleasant. “He is very much alive.”

Savage plans to ask a judge to hold a hearing for Reid to argue his case under South Carolina’s “stand your ground” law. Reid, whose criminal history consists of a misdemeanor conviction for disorderly conduct in 1990, held a concealed-weapons permit.

Theodore Waymyers Jr., 36, of Summerville, and 39-year-old Carlos Davis of Columbia also were killed. Horry’s family members have attributed their deaths to Horry, but they also said he was acting in self-defense.

Barry Stinson, 32, of New London, N.C., and Derryl Gadson, 49, of West Ashley, also were arrested on charges of second-degree assault by mob. Gadson is free on $500,000 bail, and Gosnell lowered Stinson’s bail from $500,000 to $100,000 during Thursday’s hearing.

Police Detective Christopher Terry’s testimony confirmed accounts previously reported by The Post and Courier about what prompted the melee and the shootings.

Timothy Haymond, 37, had just left his nearby house with Horry. Both are members of the Real Kings Motorcycle Club, which is affiliated with an umbrella group called Outcast.

Haymond and Horry rode their motorcycles on the street near a cookout hosted by the Wheels of Soul club, which has butted heads with Outcast members elsewhere in the county. They revved their engines.

To some of the Wheels of Soul bikers, that was a show of disrespect.

Haymond and Horry continued to Cycle Gear, where they shopped.

About six minutes later, video surveillance from a bank next door showed Wheels of Soul members Stinson and Davis pull into the parking lot in a Honda sedan. They climbed out and donned leather vests showing their club’s colors.

Seconds later, four or five others arrived on motorcycles and in cars.

The detective said Davis approached Haymond in the store and told him to leave. Haymond refused.

That’s when, the detective said, Davis grabbed Haymond’s arm.

“Don’t grab my bro,” Horry said, according to the detective.

Stinson started hitting Haymond until he collapsed to the floor and was knocked unconscious, the detective said.

Haymond told police that he had been hit with a “paddle stick.” A weapon fashioned from rope with a lead ball attached to the end was found at the scene.

The detective said Reid was involved with the group, but he acknowledged during Savage’s questioning that no evidence supported that.

Horry ran outside and fetched a pistol from his motorcycle. The detective said Horry held the gun in his hand as his friend, Haymond, got beat up inside.

“He was nervous,” Terry said of Horry. “He actually dropped the gun on the ground and had to bend over and pick it up.”

Terry said the bank’s video footage showed Reid walk outside, raise his arms and point something in his hands.

But Reid’s target isn’t visible, Terry said. When a bullet hit Reid’s leg isn’t apparent either, he said. “It’s possible,” Terry said, that Reid was reacting to gunfire.

But it was detectives’ “feeling,” Terry said, that Reid was the first to shoot.

“A feeling is not evidence,” Savage told the detective, “and there’s evidence that will contradict this testimony.”

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.