A 19-year-old facing three murder counts after a weekend shooting in Abbeville demanded media leave a bond hearing Monday morning on an unrelated charge. The judge did not oblige.
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 Sheriff's Office, Abbeville police and Greenwood police made the arrest after an hourslong search for the suspect. 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 8th Circuit Public Defender's Office. He is being held without bond.
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.
The 19-year-old 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.