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Rock Hill police mulling whether to charge man who accidentally shot himself

By Jonathan McFadden
jmcfadden@heraldonline.com

ROCK HILL Police are trying to decide if they will file charges against the two men who claimed last week that an unknown assailant shot one of them outside of Rock Hill’s Emmett Scott Recreation Center during an alleged robbery.

Investigators have determined that Timothy Royster, 21, accidentally shot himself while sitting in his car in the center’s parking lot.

Authorities swarmed the parking lot of the Crawford Road community center Oct. 31after receiving reports of shots fired, documents show. When police arrived in the midafternoon, they found Royster on the ground, complaining of a gunshot wound to the leg.

Royster, of Ohio, told police a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt ambushed him from behind, pushed him to the ground and searched his front pockets. He said he heard a gunshot and realized he had been shot in the leg.

He was taken to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. He told officers he was a Clinton College student, and a friend had picked him up from the college campus and took him to the recreation center.

Emmett Scott employees told police Royster went to the center to ask about a part-time job and possible volunteer opportunities. Minutes after he walked outside, they heard a gunshot. Police found the gun later that day in a field on nearby Carroll Street.

Investigators did not immediately say Royster accidentally shot himself because they were trying to piece together details of the incident, said Executive Officer Mark Bollinger of the Rock Hill Police Department.

Detectives were unable to speak with Royster because of his medical condition. This week, they made several appointments to speak with him but he backed out, Bollinger said.

Police believe Royster and his friend panicked and came up with the story about the gunman, police say.

Royster did not give police any indication that he had the gun while at Clinton College, Bollinger said, adding, “that wasn’t any part of the investigation.”

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