Three teenage gang-members arrested for murder after their shootout killed the father of 16 children


COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)– A shooting caught on LivePD a few weeks ago lands three teenagers behind bars. Sheriff Leon Lott said the two rival gangs’ shootout caught Ronald Bonnette, an innocent bystander, in the crossfire.

Now, the Bonnette family tells me that they are ready to forgive, but they say it does not take away from the senselessness of this killing.

Mary Bonnette is still coping with the shooting that took her husband of 37 years.

“You’ll never know when you’re going to see them for the last time. But I’ve given Ronald Bonnette the best of my years so I have closure now. I just want the young people to know that you took something from us that was great. But the God that I’m serving is able to hold me up, and I forgive you all,” Mary said.

Mary’s worst nightmare came to life on a rainy Friday night. Her husband, Ronald, had just come home from work and was taking out the trash. That’s when deputies say three teens in rival gangs got into an argument and started shooting. According to Sheriff Lott, 25 rounds were shot, hitting three cars, two occupied apartments, and killing Ronald.

“Just going out taking out the trash. That could’ve happened to anybody. But you know, to be honest with you,  this really changed my life forever. You know, because my dad was my best friend,” Garrette said. Garrette is the second oldest of the 16 kids Ronald and Mary had together. He said his father was a great man and this shooting was absolutely senseless.  


Dy’Quan King, 17 and Elijah Gilmore, 18, and Messiah Cornish, 18, are now behind bars after the deadly shootout. Ronald’s son Isaiah, actually went to school with the three who are now being charged in connection with his father’s murder.  

“He couldn’t look me in my eyes. His face was red. But I want him to know, the friends that people say they are and you so-called ‘have,’ they’re not your friend. They’re out to harm you. I had to take an L. I had to learn to love my family, love myself. And I learned that in the midst of my dad being gone and why he was here,” Isaiah said.

The large Bonnette family says Ronald raised them in the church, was hard working, but above all, his life was his kids.

“My dad was the type of man, and type of father, that only comes around once in a lifetime,” Isaiah said.

“He taught us how to forgive. And I know that even though it’s hard for us right now, that’s what he would love us to do. But that doesn’t change what happened to him. It was senseless,” Brittany said, another daughter of Ronald. 

“He’s the strongest person I ever knew in my life. You know, my hero,” Garrette said.

Sheriff Leon Lott said this gang violence needs to come to an end but it can’t just be law enforcement working on it, it has to be the entire community coming forward to put a stop to these shootings.

Categories: Local News, News, Richland