HOLLYWOOD — John "Gilla" Brown saw his dream spinning out of control Tuesday night in his new music studio during a brawl that ended with his close friend being shot through the lung.
Brown, owner of Wood Camp Records at S.C. Highways 162 and 165, said he and several friends were working on some beats about 8 p.m. when more than five men burst into the building looking for revenge for a robbery that happened elsewhere in Hollywood the night before.
"They kept talking about last night, last night," he said.
A rumble between all the men erupted, and Brown said he tried his best to use his body to shield the tens of thousands of dollars in equipment and artwork that has gone into his studio. He said it felt as if everything stopped and the room spun around him — his dream business.
Brown's lifelong friend, 26-year-old William "Jason" Woods, leaped out of an open window. As he jumped, gunfire blasted, and one bullet went through Woods' shoulder blade, through a lung and exited through his chest, said Woods' mother, Lucille Woods. He also was shot in the ankle, though the family wasn't sure if it was the same round or a second one.
"It happened so quick," Brown said, adding that he never even saw the gun. "Jason, that's my partner, like my little brother."
Jason Woods, a husband and father of three young children, underwent surgery to repair his lung and stop internal bleeding. Doctors expect to release him within a week, his mother said.
"I just thank God that he is alive," she said.
Charleston County sheriff's deputies on Wednesday released a description of a vehicle that might have been involved in the shooting. They had no suspects and have made no arrests. Investigators were trying to sort out the details of the shooting and the supposed robbery the night before.
The man the invaders were looking for wasn't at the studio, Brown said. His family's life's savings are tied up in the studio, and his grand opening was set for Easter weekend.
Brown, 30, said he had a vision of his own studio in 2004. He scrimped and saved for years, and nine months ago, he finally got a lease on the two-story, green-and-white building next the Road Runner gas station. His renovation plans were bigger than his wallet. The large space needed lots of work — new walls, new paint, new flooring and more. He completed work as he was able to afford it, had most of it done and was looking forward to the opening.
Brown said late Wednesday he didn't have the heart to go see how much damage was done during the rumble. He wasn't sure if he would have to reschedule the opening date.
"This studio is important to me," he said. "This is it — my livelihood, everything."
About three months ago, the Wood Camp Records label released it's first album, "Power Moves" by local rapper Gold Mouf.
Though most of the focus so far has been on rap music, the studio will be open to aspiring artists from all genres, Brown said.
"(The shooting) has nothing to do with rap music. This was something from the streets," he said. "Don't associate a shooting with the studio, because that's not what it's about. This is supposed to be a good family environment."