WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCIV) -- Solicitor Duffie Stone of South Carolina's 14th Circuit said he plans to bring tougher charges to those who commit random gun crimes that cause death.
"Every shooter, every bullet," he said.
Stone said criminals have an unacceptable mentality in his area, which includes Colleton, Beaufort, Allendale, Jasper and Hampton counties.
"[They] take out [their] guns and shoot at people. [They] jump in a car with five or six other people with semi-automatic weapons and [they] drive through neighborhoods hoping to hit somebody [they] don't like," he said.
Stone said club, crowd and drive-by shootings have become common. He said now everyone involved a random, deadly shooting will be charged with murder.
"If you're going to, don't pretend that because your bullet was not the fatal shot, that you get a pass. You don't," Stone said.
Despite recent shootings at places like the Chase Lounge in Colleton County, he said those were not committed by groups. But, it's only a matter of time, as Stone said random violence rises around the country and even in Columbia last weekend.
"Four people were kicked out of a club. They went across the street and started shooting back into the club," Stone said of the Columbia incident.
He said he was confident the initiative was supported by South Carolina law.
"The felony murder rule -- what this means is if you are participating in an inherently dangerous felony, and someone dies, it's murder," he said.
Walterboro Mayor Bill Young did not think the initiative would have legal problems and supported the solicitor's warning.
"People shouldn't put themselves in a situation where they're going to be with people who do something like that," Young said.
"Will it make it more difficult on myself to go after this? Probably. But it's the right thing to do," Stone said.
Stone said he wanted to make the announcement now to be proactive, rather than reactive to a tragedy.
"I went out of my way to have this press conference when we did not have a similar case pending in front of the court because I am more free to be able to tell you this and make sure you understand," he said.
Stone said he believed jurors would support the initiative.
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