NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Investigators in North Charleston have arrested a man suspected of a Wednesday afternoon shooting at Frankie's Fun Park that left one man injured.
Police arrested 27-year-old Maurice S. Thompson and charged him with attempted murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime and conspiracy to violate SC narcotics laws.
Shortly before 4 p.m., NCPD officers responded to a shooting at the park on Ashley Phosphate Road.
Responding officers found the victim on the parking lot near the front of the business. A police report states the victim was uncooperative and would not provide investigators with any information on the suspect.
An investigation revealed that the suspect and the victim were meeting at the location for a drug deal.
Bystanders told officers that the incident happened in the middle of the parking lot.
After officers reviewed surveillance video and spoke to witnesses, it appeared that the victim was exiting a vehicle when the suspect pushed the victim from the car and fired one round in the victim's backside.
The victim, 27-year-old Harold Nicholas Austin, was transported to MUSC and also charged with conspiracy to violate SC narcotics laws.
A police officer patrolling the area of Scarsdale Avenue reported seeing the vehicle in front of an apartment on Napolean Drive. As the officer passed the vehicle, he saw a man, later identified as Thompson, standing by the vehicle.
The officer said Thompson appeared to be spooked when he saw the patrol car pass by. By the time the officer turned his car around, the suspected vehicle was coming down the road.
The officer then pulled in front of the vehicle and yelled to the driver to place both hands on the steering wheel. As the officer approached the car, he could see a baby in the back seat, and the driver visibly shaken.
When the officer detained the driver identified as Mario Gavin, Gavin said, "I'm going to jail, I'm going to jail."
The officer asked him why and Gavin said he had a warrant for simple possession of marijuana which was confirmed by authorities. Officers then proceeded to the apartment on Napolean and reported locating Thompson hiding in a closet in one of the bedrooms.
A manager at Frankie's Fun Park said the shooting happened in the parking lot, and there was no altercation inside the establishment.
"Nothing happened inside, again it just caught us by surprise," said Kyle Stoudemire, general manager at Frankie's Fun Park."We had a report from some customers that somebody was shot in our parking lot. We immediately ran outside and called 911 when we saw a gentleman had been shot."
After the emergency call was made, the North Charleston PD along with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene.
"It's terrible, everyday you hear something," said Joey White who was bringing his son to the park."I mean you never know what's going to happen.""This is crazy to happen at a family fun park," said Olga Martinez who works nearby.
Law enforcement units were seen searching for the suspect in the area following the shooting.
"Our customers need to feel safe coming here. This was just a freak incident and we are shocked as anybody," said Stoudemire who said the Dorchester Co. Sheriff's Office works with the business to provide security at night.
Police are continuing the investigation.
"We take safety and security seriously and everybody should still feel safe coming here to Frankie's Fun Park," Stoudemire said.