ABBEVILLE — After trying to have media thrown out of his first bond hearing of the day, the teen facing three murder counts after a Sunday shooting in Abbeville declined his right to be present at his second arraignment of the day.
Elijah Ty Rez Head, 19, was arrested at 1:28 a.m. Monday at the Ideal Motel on East Laurens Highway, State Law Enforcement Division Special Agent Thom Berry reported. SLED, Greenwood County deputies, Abbeville police and Greenwood police made the arrest after an hourslong search for the gunman. He was charged with three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
Head appeared in front of Greenwood Magistrate Judge Belinda Y. Johnson Monday morning at the Greenwood County Detention Center for a bond hearing on a simple possession of marijuana count. He received a personal recognizance bond on that charge and remained detained on the other counts. At that hearing, Head demanded reporters leave the courtroom, cursing at them and telling Johnson his rights were being violated. Johnson told him it was “my decision” about whether reporters were authorized to be in the courtroom. Head turned his back toward cameras during the proceeding.
Later in the day, Head waived his right to be present for a bond hearing in Abbeville County on the murder counts through his attorney. Tristan Shaffer with the Greenwood County Public Defender’s Office represented Head Monday in place of 8th Circuit Public Defender Janna Nelson.
The state’s attorneys, 8th Circuit Deputy Solicitor Yates Brown and Assistant Solicitor Micah Black, attended the bond hearing but didn’t speak. No relatives of the people shot in this case were present during the hearing.
Head is being held without bond. His next step will be for his attorney to move for a bond hearing in front of a circuit court judge, as a magistrate judge cannot set bond on murder charges, according to state law.
The shooting happened at about 3 a.m. Sunday at Hickory Heights Apartments on Cambridge Street and began with an encounter in the parking lot, Berry said.
Shirley Jean Jones, 62, and Steven Tinch, 26, died at the scene, said Coroner Ronnie Ashley, while 24-year-old Johntavier Moss died at Self Regional Medical Center. He said a fourth person was being treated at an area hospital.
Warrants provided by SLED at about 11:40 a.m. Monday said Head was responsible for shooting four people with a handgun at Hickory Heights apartment 1005, 1108 Cambridge St., Abbeville.
Addressing gun violenceGreenville-based anti-gun activist Jack Logan, of Put Down the Guns Now Young People, went from building to building on Monday at Hickory Heights handing out gun locks and literature to residents, many of them children.
Logan said Abbeville residents have been accepting in previous visits and planned to meet with City Councilman James Jackson before appearing in Anderson Monday afternoon. In an email, Logan said his organization would “pound the pavement” in Anderson on Monday afternoon as a response to another shooting that occurred early Sunday morning.
In that shooting, the Associated Press reported, 11-year-old Ja’Naiya Scott was killed and two others, ages 11 and 18, wounded. Logan said in his Monday email that he had “some leads” in Scott’s death and would meet with the Anderson police chief.
“To decrease gun violence we have got to work with law enforcement,” Logan said. “Each city council and county council must give the funding to the sheriff’s department and the city to hire more people to be able to patrol. That’s how I feel about that. Three o’clock in the morning shooting, 1 a.m. in the morning shooting (where) that little girl was killed, that never would’ve happened if law enforcement had enough tools to be out patrolling, as well as the incident here in this complex.”
Past arrestsHead was out on bond after several arrests in Greenwood County, including an arrest on armed robbery and weapons counts and another on a third-degree assault by mob charge. Those charges are still pending in court.
In one case, two men reported being robbed at gunpoint while stopped at a stop sign in December. The report said a man forced them out of the car at gunpoint and a second man helped the gunman search the pair. Greenwood police developed Head as a suspect and arrested him within hours.
In a case investigated by Greenwood County deputies, Head was accused of being one of 20 people who attacked a man at Windtree Apartments in 2017. That attack was live-streamed on Facebook.
A number of Abbeville officers and state agents, including SLED’s SWAT team, were at Pecan Grove apartments Sunday morning, where Abbeville Police Chief Ron Bosler said officers were following several tips that led them there. He said the shooting was an all-hands-on-deck situation, and that he pulled about a half dozen off-duty officers to assist.