Police surround Fourth Street Home

Cassie Buchman, Staff Reporter

A residence on Fourth Street was evacuated after a report of shots fired around the area at about 2 p.m.

Police surrounded the area around 1312 Fourth Street, with some carrying rifles, after a report of possible gunfire around the residence.

Officers used megaphones to tell occupants of the residence to exit the house immediately with their hands up.

They eventually tried making their way into the house, breaking a window in the process.

Charleston Police Chief Bryan Baker said three people were detained in this incident but at least one more person was inside the house, leading police to surround the area.

However, residents of 1312 4th Street said no one else was inside the house while police were in the area and  everyone had already come outside.

Both Markell Jefferson and Kendall Smith, Charleston residents who live in the house, said they were the two males detained by police.

Officers claimed the detainment was for their own safety, Jefferson and Smith said.

“They said supposedly, someone had shot at our house, so they need us out of our house so they can search (it),” Smith said.

However, Smith said there were no bullet casings or bullet holes in the house to suggest a shooting.

Officers took him, his girlfriend and Jefferson to the Charleston Police station, he said.

“They didn’t say anything about us having guns or anything or shooting at anybody- they just said somebody shot at the back of our house,” Smith said.

Jefferson said leading up to the police action,he heard a truck with a wheel that fell off or popped, making a loud noise. He then looked outside and saw the house surrounded by police officers.

The officers asked them to come out of the house,then detained the three people.

“I get frustrated because it’s not even that necessary,” Jefferson said. “Who would shoot in broad daylight with a gun?”

He said they were all detained for about an hour.

Tyler Wheat, a junior finance major who lives across the street and witnessed what happened, said he also thought a truck broke down, making a noise that was reported as shots fired.

“They busted up in the house, they didn’t pull anybody out, they just raided an empty house from a dude who got reported because a truck broke down,” he said.

Wheat said he thinks the Charleston Police Department is probably taking instances like this more seriously after the shooting that happened this spring on Seventh Street, which resulted in the death of Eastern student Byron Edingburg.

“I don’t blame (the police) at all for that,” he said. 

Kimo Byars, a sophomore communication studies major who also witnessed what happened, said he was moving his stuff out when he saw the truck stop.

Though he also said he did not think anybody was in the house, he also added that it was probably a good idea to be overly cautious because of what happened in the spring.

More information was not released by the Charleston Police Department as of Monday evening and other officers were unavailable after the standoff ended.

UPDATE: 10:21 a.m. Tuesday

According to a press release from the CPD, the reason officers were dispatched to the area of 1312 Fourth Street was because of a report of individuals shooting at each other.

Baker said about three eye witnesses at the scene told police about one individual in a vehicle and another on foot firing an unknown number of shots at each other.

One of these individuals fled into 1312 4th Street while another vehicle sped off.

Baker confirmed that there were no bullet holes or casings around the house. He said the only evidence of the shooting was from eyewitnesses at the scene.

While there was a car accident around this time, Baker said there was no connection between the two incidents.

After a search warrant was obtained and served for the residence, police found nobody else in the house. Instead, they recovered three CO2 pistols and around $13,000 in United States currency as well as evidence of narcotics activity, according to the press release.

No arrests have been made at this time. The incident is still under investigation.