Police dismiss charges against man accused in West Ashley hammer attack, apologize

Published: Feb. 4, 2016 at 9:02 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 11, 2016 at 4:22 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Police say they have dropped charges against a person they accused of assaulting a man with a hammer.

After investigating further, police say they realized 29-year-old Michael More, who was charged with attempted murder in the Jan. 29 incident, didn't commit the crime.

Moore was arrested on Feb. 3 and released on Feb. 8.

"After Moore's arrest, detectives continued their investigation based on information received during interviews," the release says. "This led to the execution of a search warrant which provided detectives additional information that exonerated Moore. Upon receiving this information, detectives immediately took steps to gain Moore's release and dismiss the charges."

"I regret that Mr. Moore was charged and arrested in this matter," said Police Chief Greg Mullen. "I am also appreciative of the actions of our detectives to continue the investigation which led to Mr. Moore's release. We will conduct a full inquiry into this matter to identify any weaknesses in our processes that can be improved to prevent a reoccurrence. I am very sorry this incident occurred and I apologize to Mr. Moore."

Charleston Police say a man walked into Ko Cha restaurant, pulled out hammer and clubbed a man in the back of his head. According to police, the victim had just ordered his food and was facing the cash register when he was attacked from behind.

According to an incident report, Moore's arrest was based on information received from the victim, witnesses and officers.

"I didn't do this crime, ma'am," Moore told Magistrate Priscilla Baldwin during his bond hearing.

Court papers state a friend of the victim witnessed the attack and kicked a table toward the suspect. He told officers the suspect then pulled out a knife and ran out of the restaurant.

Police released a surveillance photo of the suspect that was taken at the convenience store next door before the attack.

According to court papers, a detective thought he recognized the man from the photo. Investigators say the victim's friend picked Moore out of a photo lineup.

But in court, Moore insisted he was innocent.

"They showed a picture of the dude and it does not look like me. I never had dreds and the person who did this crime had dreds, ma'am," Moore said to the judge.

People we spoke with outside the restaurant said they were stunned to hear about the attack.

"Absolutely horrible, and I -- just, oh my gosh," Marjorie Hansen said.

The victim suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain, according to police.

Investigators haven't released a possible motive for the attack.

They say the investigation is ongoing.

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