Drive-by shooting injures one at SC bar www.privateofficer.com
Belcher was stationed outside the Asheville Highway bar when he spotted the green Ford Contour and saw the back window come down before six shots were fired. Belcher said he kneeled behind his truck and chased the car to try to obtain a license tag number.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, but your adrenaline just takes control,” Belcher said. “The bar was packed — I’d say with 75 or 80 people and about half were women — and at the time, I didn’t know how many people were hit or injured, so I just wanted to make sure these guys were caught.”
The car, occupied by four men, drove north around Hearon Circle toward Inman, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office. The men aren’t believed to have been inside the bar the night of the incident.
One customer suffered a bruised knee after being struck by a bullet but would not accept medical treatment. Deputies think at least two bullets were fired into the establishment, with one round striking the bar inside.
As of Thursday night, deputies were still looking for the suspects.
Belcher, who has worked at the bar for about 2 years, called the drive-by shooting cowardly, adding that there are rarely any problems at the establishment. He said the incident was isolated, and the owner goes to great lengths to provide security — hiring additional security for busy nights — at the bar.
According to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, deputies have been called to PJ’s, at 1527 Asheville Highway, 212 times from 2007 to 2009. There have been 25 calls for disturbances, one shooting in 2009, one strong-armed robbery, two armed robberies, 12 fights and one call for a fight with a weapon.
Acting on a media request, sheriff’s office spokesman Tony Ivey also released crime statistics for a nearby bar, Rascal’s, at 1455 Asheville Highway. Police have responded to 38 calls there for the same time period. There were seven calls for larcenies, six for disturbances and one for a fight. There were no calls at Rascal’s for shootings or robberies, according to the crime statistics.
James Pope, the owner of PJ’s Bar and Grill, said he employs between five and seven security guards on slow nights and around 15 on busier nights. He said that Wednesday nights aren’t normally busy, but there were more customers than normal there this week.
Pope said he takes issue with the statistics released by the sheriff’s office on the number of calls an officer has responded to his establishment.
“I would say we’ve called them out here maybe 15 times since 2007,” Pope said. “We’re able to take care of things on our own with security and usually have the problem resolved when they get here.”
Pope said 212 calls over a two-year period is “excessive,” but said that includes minor calls such as 911 hang-up calls.
“I can say that we’ve never had anything of this magnitude happen, and I’ve spent the better part of the day trying to figure out how to keep this from happening again,” Pope said. “I can assure our patrons that we’re doing everything humanly possible to keep them safe.”
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 58-CRIME. All calls are anonymous.