Two Jailed in Ridgeway Shooting

Leonard Mitchell

Darius Heyward

RIDGEWAY – A Winnsboro man was arrested last week and charged with attempted murder in the Dec. 14 shooting of 25-year-old Michael Samuel Thompson outside a Ridgeway nightclub.

According to the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, 23-year-old Leonard Earl Mitchell Jr. of 100 Castlewood Drive was arrested on Dec. 17 and charged with the shooting that sent Thompson to Palmetto Richland Hospital with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Mitchell was also charged with possession of a weapon during a violent crime and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. Distribution of marijuana charges were also levied against Mitchell from a previous investigation.

Investigators also arrested Darius Heyward Jr., 18, of Shade Tree Lane in Blythewood, during their investigation. Heyward was charged on Dec. 17 with unlawful carrying of a handgun.

Three Fairfield County Sheriff’s deputies were assisting with crowd control outside the C&B Bar and Grill at 7480 Highway 34 E. in Ridgeway as the club was closing down for the night. At approximately 3:13 a.m. on Dec. 14, deputies heard a single gunshot from the side parking lot, between the club and the Ridgeway Motel. A witness told deputies that the shooter was attempting to leave the scene in a Honda Accord. Deputies intercepted the vehicle and turned out its occupants: three men and a woman. Thompson was located a short distance from the vehicle, surrounded by members of his family. Deputies instructed them to keep pressure on the wound until the ambulance could arrive.

Meanwhile, a crowd had formed around the Honda Accord and began making threats toward the suspects. The suspects were placed into a squad car and transported to the Sheriff’s Office while investigators processed the scene. Inside the Honda Accord, investigators located a Ruger 9MM handgun underneath the driver’s seat and found a spent shell casing inside the center console. Later that morning, investigators performed gunshot residue tests on the suspects.

Mitchell was still being held at the Fairfield County Detention Center at press time. Heyward was released Dec. 19 on a $2,500 bond. The Sheriff’s Office said last week that it expects additional arrests to be made in connection with the shooting.