Police arrest man following exchange of gunfire near S.C. Baptist building

Police responded to an “active shooter” incident on July 18 near the South Carolina Baptist Convention building in Columbia. SCBC staff sheltered inside their building until the gunman was taken into custody after he was shot in the upper body by authorities, the convention reported on their website.

The shooter was identified as 26-year-old Brandon Joyner. He was taken to a local hospital with “non-life-threatening” injuries, The State newspaper reported.

An officer was also reportedly hurt during the incident, but the extent of the officer’s injuries were not available. No other injuries were reported.

“At 11:37 a.m., Columbia Police Department received a call of a man with a gun firing shots into the air as he walked along the Stoneridge/Greystone Boulevard area,” police reported during a press conference. “Officers arrived on scene approximately four minutes later and encountered the gentleman. He subsequently started firing at them. Officers returned fire, and he fled the area.”

Details of Joyner being taken into custody were not available, The State reported.

While police pursued the suspect, SCBC staff shared updates on social media. “Currently, law enforcement is responding to an active shooter situation at the building next to our state convention building,” they said. “Your state convention staff is sheltering inside our building, and are all safe and secure.”

They added, “Please pray that the threat will be neutralized quickly, that God will preserve life, and that the Holy Spirit will comfort and encourage all of Christ’s people involved. Also, join us in praying for law enforcement and first responders.”

Tony Wolfe, executive director-treasurer of the SCBC, released a statement following the incident, “I could not be more thankful for our state, county and local law enforcement officers who laid their lives on the line in response to today’s incident in our parking lot and at the building adjacent to ours.”

He added, “They were laser-focused on neutralizing the threat and protecting our S.C. Baptist staff and other residents and businesses in the area. Their response was rapid. Their organization was reassuring. Their communication was thoughtful. Their courage was heroic. Truly they are God’s servants for good (Romans 13:4).”

To read Wolfe’s full statement, click here.

— Shawn Hendricks is director of product management for the TAB Media group.