Ozzy Mooneyham is accused of being an active shooter who wounded four people in a mass shooting spread over two locations in Sumter, South Carolina, including at Palmetto Tires.
Police Chief Russell Roark revealed in a news conference: “Make no mistake, this was an active shooter situation. The individual was determined to cause chaos and harm to members of our community.”
Mooneyham is 25-years-old. Chief Russell Roark called it a “violent act” and said he wanted to assure the community that this “was not gang-related. We have no reason to believe that the individual we arrested was acting in concert with anyone else.”
The suspect was named by the chief as Ozzy Alexander Mooneyham. The chief said Mooneyham was previously named Mindi Mooneyham. The chief did not explain the name change. “There is no connection between he and his victims,” the chief said. “There’s some people he shot at and missed. Unfortunately, there are four people he shot at and struck. These individuals were minding their own business in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Here’s what you need to know:
The Police Chief Says the Victims Were ‘Targets of Opportunity’ by a Suspect Wearing a Camouflage Hat
The police chief painted the picture of a horrific sequence of events of the like that’s become too familiar in the United States.
The victims were “merely targets of opportunity for an individual determined to create chaos and cause harm to innocent people,” said Chief Roark. He provided a timeline.
At 7:30 a.m. on October 21, 2019, a man in a camouflage hat was firing in the direction of a small vehicle at an apartment complex. The suspect was seen leaving in the vehicle two minutes later.
At 7:36, officers arrived on the scene. They found an off-duty sheriff’s deputy who had been fired on while standing at the balcony of his building. A female gunshot victim then called police and said she was shot at the apartment complex.
The Next Shooting Was at the Tire Shop, Police Say
At 7:45 a.m., a second call of a shooting came in at Palmetto Tires. Officers arrived on scene and found three gunshot wound victims, one female and two males. At 7:49 a.m., two deputies performed a traffic stop based off the information provided by dispatch. After the traffic stop, the suspect was taken into custody without further incident.
Weapons were seized from the vehicle, including a .22 caliber rifle with an extended magazine, which is believed to be the gun the suspect used in “these violent acts.” Seven counts of attempted murder are among the slew of charges.
“Make no mistake. This was an active shooter situation,” the chief said. “We had two locations whereby shots were fired, persons were struck, and they were not intended targets. This was a crime perpetrated by the individual who was intent to cause harm to others.”
Mooneyham Does Not Have a Criminal History, Police Say
Mooneyham purchased the weapon legally, the chief said in the news conference. He added that Mooneyham has no prior criminal history. The exact motive is not clear. Online records for both an Ozzy and Mindi Mooneyham, age 25, Sumter, do show up connected to the same relatives in datamining sites. There are no obvious social media accounts for the suspect with anything visible on them.
One man who knows a victim wrote on Facebook that the man “is in serious pain, but doing better. He is going to pull out of this and is in good spirits. God is gracious. But, I know his prayer is for us to PAY ATTENTION to mental health. Not just spiritual health, but soul health.”
The chief praised the actions of the officers who allegedly stopped Mooneyham.
The chief added, “We have experienced some tragedy in our community in the last three months.” He said this was “an active shooter incident.”
“Got in his car and he backed out just like a normal customer,” one employee of the tire shop said to WLTX-TV. “How did he pick us out randomly? Look at all these places out here and he picked us.”
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