Columbia man shot in head at fight at convenience store

Sunday, June 3, 2007 | 2:49 a.m. CDT; updated 10:55 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Columbia man was in serious condition after being shot in the head at a north Columbia convenience early Saturday morning, police said.

About 200 people were fighting at about 1:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the Breaktime Convenience Store at 1000 Smiley Lane, Columbia police Sgt. Dan Beckman said.

“We call it an after-bars crowd,” Beckman said. “They go to the gas stations after the bars close to get their last-minute beers.”

A store employee reported hearing gunshots during a fight involving about 200 people, Beckman said. The employee told police some of the people involved were inside the store, but the employee was able to get them out of the store and lock the door before calling police, Beckman said.

A 19-year-old man was shot in the parking lot of the convenience store during the fight, Beckman said. The shooting victim was taken to University Hospital by ambulance.

Police had not released information on the suspect as of Saturday afternoon.

Beckman said some stores hire security guards to keep customers safe after bars close, when crowds often gather outside convenience stores. Beckman said crimes committed by some members of those crowds include drug dealing, robberies and fights.

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