An overnight shooting Sunday in east Columbia left two people dead and three injured.
Tara L. Knedler, 38, and Ri'ajauhna, 11, both of Columbia, were pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital following the shooting, Police Chief Geoff Jones said in a Sunday news conference. The 11-year-old's last name was withheld per the family's request.
Three other victims, including a 40-year-old female, a 22-year-old male and another female whose age is unknown at this time, sustained non-life threatening injuries, according to Jones. Four victims, including the two killed, were found at the scene of the shooting on Volunteer Drive and Grace Lane at approximately 12:15 a.m. A fifth victim was later interviewed at the police department. There was no known relation between the victims, Jones said.
Columbia police have detained one suspect and have spoken with but not yet arrested the other, Jones said. Two people fired guns at the scene, he said, and the department's criminal investigation division is evaluating the circumstances around the gunfire.
Jones said that he believed fireworks were being used prior to the shooting, but confirmation of the exact circumstances are still pending. He emphasized that the deaths and injuries were not caused by fireworks. Officers had been on foot patrol and sending letters to landlords for the last two weeks in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred, Jones said.
Officers provided trauma care at the scene, Jones said, and medics were staged outside the scene but did not enter. The severity of the victims' injuries resulted in transportation immediately to the hospital rather than to outside the area. Jones said this is the same procedure as if an officer was shot.
Jones and Lt. Matt Stephens spoke with the victims' families via FaceTime prior to the Sunday news conference, the chief said.
"We owe it to them, to all of these kids who grow up in this community and others to prevent this where we can," Jones said. "To find other resources, to find justice when we can, whatever that looks like. There's always going to be work to be done, but to describe it ... it's indescribable."
Columbia police's investigation of the shooting is still ongoing.