The accused gunman in a mass shooting at a Lancaster nightclub claimed in court Friday that he was shot at during the incident.
Breante Deon Stevens, 31, is charged with two counts of murder, eight counts of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, and weapons violations in connection with the Sept. 21 shooting at the Ole Skool club in Lancaster. Two people died and eight were wounded.
Stevens said he could have been killed in the shooting incident, according to statements he made Friday.
The hearing was held by video teleconference with Stevens at the county jail and Lancaster County Magistrate Doug Vecchio at the Lancaster County Courthouse.
“If that shot that he fired would have killed me, I would have been on t-shirts,” Stevens said to a judge during court.
Stevens also said he would not plead guilty.
“I just want everybody to keep in mind I’m not pleading guilty,” Stevens said in court.
Vecchio had warned Stevens that court officials record bond hearings and any statement Stevens made could be used in future hearings.
“This is not a good experience,” Stevens said. “I’m not pleased or nothing.”
Stevens also said he is sorry for the victim’s families.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” he said.
It remains unclear what shot Stevens talked about in court.
Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office deputies have said in written and social media Facebook releases to the public and media that Stevens is accused of being the shooter when Henry Lee Colvin, 29, of Rock Hill, and Aaron Harris, 28, of Kershaw, were killed. Stevens also is accused of assault and battery in the injuries to the eight other victims who were shot, testimony showed in court Friday.
Arrest warrants in the case, obtained Friday by The Herald, say Stevens got on a stage at the club and fired repeatedly into the crowd.
Deputies said in arrest warrants that Stevens had an argument with Colvin at the club on Sept. 21.
“After an altercation with the victim Colvin, the defendant was witnessed to walk on stage, present a firearm, and discharge it at the victims repeatedly,” the warrants state. ‘There is physical evidence, witness statements and video surveillance to prove the same.”
Witnesses to the shooting later identified Stevens in a police photo line-up, arrest warrants state.
Stevens waived extradition Oct. 3 after he was arrested in Florida. He was brought to the Lancaster County jail Thursday, a jail official said. Friday he made his first court appearance after he was served Lancaster County arrest warrants, testimony showed.
Family members of Harris and Colvin were present at the hearing and spoke briefly.
“I hope God can forgive you, because I can’t” the relative stated.
Vecchio denied Stevens bond on all the charges. He will remain jailed at least until his next court appearance in December, testimony showed.
Stevens is a convicted felon who recently was released from prison after convictions in Lancaster County court for drug trafficking and robbery, according to police and court records. He also is facing charges of possession of a weapon during a violent crime, and being a felon in possession of weapons during a violent crime, court testimony showed Friday.
Stevens could face punishment up to the death penalty if convicted of two murders in the same incident, South Carolina law states.
A second suspect, Antonio Emmanuel Champion, 30, of Fort Mill in York County, also is charged with murder in connection with the two fatal shootings, said Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile in a previous written release.
Check back for updates on this developing story, including video from court on Friday.