Watch: String of Crimes in Northeast Richland County Connected

Richland Co., S.C. (WOLO) — A string of crimes in Northeast Richland County has residents on high alert.

Sheriff Leon Lott says there’s a common thread in the shooting of female in the Publix Parking lot on Hardscrabble Road and the shooting death of Jaelen Josey who was found dead inside a vehicle on Seton Hall Drive.

The Richland County Sheriff explains, “They’re connected and what we have seen is that drugs is the common denominator.”

According to Lott it’s young people looking to make fast cash by robbing drug dealers that’s inciting the violence.

He says, “The drug dealers have gotten tired of being robbed so they go their guns and what we’re seeing is they’r having shoot outs between the drug dealers and the robbers.”

Six suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder of 18 year-old Jaelen Josey:

– Jose Reyes, charged with murder and attempted robbery;
– Douglas Murphy Jr., charged with murder and attempted armed robbery;
– Sequoia Kessler, charged with accessory to felony after the fact;
– Thaddeus Lewis, charged as an adult with murder and attempted armed robbery;
– Trajan Mack, charged as an adult with murder and attempted armed robbery;
– Sterling Kessler, charged as an adult with accessory to felony before the fact and accessory to felony after the fact.

Authorities believe that Josey knew some of the suspects, while the female injured in the
Publix parking lot shooting was an innocent bystander.

“They don’t care where these bullets are going or who they hit. We’re going to continue to tie all these cases together we anticipate some more arrests We’re not through arresting people”

He says the most recent arrests could just be scratching the surface on the newly discovered trend in criminal activity.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department plans to continue fighting these crimes with high deputy visibility and increased communication between School resource officers and the youth.

Lott vows, “We’re not going to slow down investigating we’re not going to stop looking for you. We’re not going to tolerate something like this and neither is the community.”

The department is also asking that residents remain vigilant, emphasizing the importance of community tips in stopping crime.

Any suspicious activity can be reported to Crimestoppers at 888-CRIME-SC.

Categories: Local News, News, Richland