Five Points mural

A mural in Columbia's Five Points. John Carlos II

COLUMBIA — Two people were shot early Sunday at a Columbia bar close to where a University of South Carolina senior was kidnapped and killed a month ago. 

Columbia Police said late Sunday that a man argued with an employee after being told to leave The Cotton Gin shortly before 2 a.m. The employee was shot in the leg while escorting the man out of the bar.

The same bullet also struck a bar patron in the leg. Both injuries were described as non-life threatening, but police did not provide any other information on the victims' conditions.

Marlon Adam White, 22, is sought in connection with the shooting, Columbia Police said in a tweet. The suspect faces two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

The shooting took place in Five Points, a busy shopping and dining district by day that becomes the city's popular gathering spot for college students late at night.

Five Points has gone through periods of nighttime violence in recent years.

An 18-year-old man was beaten severely by eight attackers in 2011. A USC freshman waiting for a cab was paralyzed after being struck by a stray bullet fired in 2013. Three men were shot in the early morning after Five Points' St. Patrick’s Day festival last year.

Despite recent violent incidents, Five Points remains generally a safe place, said Alex Waelde, a former Five Points bar owner who runs the Drinking Ticket account on Twitter popular with USC students. 

"I think there will always be issues that arise when you cram that many people together in one small area," he said, "but I think the city of Columbia police and Five Points bar owners are doing their best with the resources they have."

Sunday's shooting in Five Points was less than two blocks from where Samantha Josephson got into a car that she thought was her Uber ride outside The Bird Dog bar last month.

Her body was found more than 12 hours later by hunters in a Clarendon County field. A Clarendon County man was arrested a day after Josephson's kidnapping after police found a car near Five Points matching the description of the one that picked her up. Authorities said they found Josephson's blood and cell phone in the car.

Josephson's killing shocked the country and led Uber to start sending push notifications for riders with safety tips to help verify the car and driver they ordered.

In Five Points, a designated, police-monitored area is set up for people to meet ride-hiring cars ordered from phone apps. And a number of bars pledged to have bouncers escort customers to their rides home in the first hour after closing. 

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