Police Chief: Lion Murder Random, Senseles Act
Charleston Police called a press conference Tuesday to ask for the community's help in finding the gunman that killed 17-year-old Marley Lion on Saturday
Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen called a press conference Tuesday to discuss details of a pair of recent homicides in the city.
Mullen announced the arrest of a downtown man on a murder charge connected to a shooting on Hanover Street last Thursday, but spent most of the news conference focusing on the shooting of 17-year-old Marley Lion in West Ashley on Saturday morning.
Marley was shot at least five times around 4 a.m. Saturday by an unknown gunman while he was sleeping in his SUV in the parking lot of Famous Joe's Bar on Savannah Highway, according to a police report. He died from his wounds, but not before he was able to speak briefly with officers on scene.
"Based on our review of the scene, interviews with multiple individuals and examinations of video of the event, there is no indication that this crime was anything other than random, senseless violence," Mullen said.
Police were able to recover a surveillance video from the parking lot that shows the shooting. In the video a man is seen walking up to Lion's SUV with a handgun. After a few seconds Lion's car alarm begins going off and the man flees, only to return about 20 seconds later and open fire, according to Lead Det. Richard Burckhardt.
Investigators were also able to determine that Lion had only been in the parking lot for approximately 20 minutes before he was shot. Police believe at least two people were involved in the shooting.
Burckhardt said detectives began knocking on doors and canvassing the Ardmoore neighborhood adjacent to the parking lot where Lion was killed, and were able to glean some information and leads, but it has not been enough to identify the shooter.
"We got some information, we're not near where we need to be. We worked this thing through the night, the next couple of days, we're still actively working," Burckhardt said. "The entire detective investigative division is actively working this case as we speak."
The department has put out flyers asking for information in the case and Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward, and Mullen, Burckhardt and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley used the press confernece to plead with the community for help in the case.
"What we also recognize is that there is somebody in our community today that can help us identify who that person is who committed this crime," Mullen said. "Just like in several other cases we've had over the past several years that involved young people that basically had their entire lives ahead of them, that's the situation that we're dealing with today.
"We're dealing with a situation where we have a young man who was 17 years of age, he had his whole life in front of him, and because of a predator, because of someone who has absolutely no thought, or no conscience about life, he will not be able to grow up and experience what we've all been able to experience."
Mullen said Lion had done nothing cause the shooting, like many other young victims in recent years, he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Mullen added that the outcry for the police and community to do something about violent crime needs to remain loud and not fade as media attention to this particular case dies down.
"The responsibility as law abiding citizens of Charleston is for everyone, for anyone who might have any information, any ideas, a hunch, a rumor that they might have heard from someone else to bring this to our police department so we can bring this violent person to justice," Riley said. "The fact is of course that this brutally mean, outrageously lawless hoodlum will harm someone again. A person like this doesn't care. They have no morals. They have no sense of justice and we must bring this person to justice. That's what we owe the memory of this very fine young man."
Investigators want to talk to a number of people in the area, including a man seen on the surveillance video walking through the parking lot about 15 minutes prior to the shooting. He is not a suspect, Mullen said, but he is a person of interest and we want to know if he might have seen anything that can help us.