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‘We have a community problem:’ Innocent father of 16 killed in gang-related crossfire while taking out trash

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Posted at 4:45 PM, Nov 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-05 17:45:35-05

By WIS News 10 Staff 

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott expressed sadness in the recent arrests of three teens in the killing of an innocent man taking out his trash during a gang-related shooting.

Sheriff Lott said that the victim, 58-year-old Ronald A. Bonnette, of Columbia, was taking out his trash on Friday, Oct. 26, when two rival gangs were shooting at one another in an apartment complex parking lot.

Bonnette, a husband and father of 16 children, was struck and killed.

“Not many people probably pay attention to this funeral, but I think it’s very significant because it indicates the problem we have here in Columbia,” Lott said.

Elijah Gilmore, Messiah Cornish, and DyQuan King, have all been charged with murder, among other charges in the shooting. Lott did not mention the two gangs by name, but did confirm that the shooting was gang-related.

Four guns were recovered from the shooting and two of them were stolen, Lott said. He said it is too easy for kids the age of the suspects to get guns.

“Thought they could go out here and just do it. Sad. Sad that we have such a problem in our community," Lott said. “Hope that it’s a wake up call that we have a community problem with young people with guns who do not care.”

Lott went on to say that at least 25 rounds were shot in the apartment complex, with some hitting occupied units. Since April 24, 553 guns have been confiscated by law enforcement, and 113 of those guns were stolen.

“This isn’t a law enforcement problem, we’re locking people up," Lott said.

This is the second fatal shooting where an innocent bystander was killed in a gang-related crime. In August, Nakya Scott was shot and killed inside her home in front of her children.

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