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      Man accused of fatal Olive Garden shooting arrested

      The initial call went out around 9 p.m. on December 29, 2011. When Columbia Police arrived, they found Hoefer lying in the parking lot. He was transported to a local hospital where he was later prounounced dead.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - A man accused of the fatal shooting in the parking lot of the Harbison Blvd. Olive Garden restaurant last month has been arrested.

      Gonzales Wardlaw, 20, is charged with murder and posession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime according to Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott.

      Wardlaw allegedly shot and killed Thomas T. Hoefer, outside of an Olive Garden restaurant on the evening of December 29, 2011. When Columbia Police arrived, they found Hoefer lying in the parking lot. He was transported to a local hospital where he was later prounounced dead. Investigators believe the defendant and victim may have been acquaintances.

      CPD Investigators believe Hoefer was a patron at the Olive Garden and visited the restaurant to dine with family members. Investigators believe that Hoefer stepped away from a family gathering to talk with Wardlaw when he was shot in the parking lot and collapsed.

      According to Lexington County Coroner Harry O. Harrman, Thomas T. Hoefer, 21, of Columbia, SC, was shot in the chest and suffered fatal injuries.

      The investigation continues, including determining a motive for the shooting death.

      Wardlaw was transported and booked at the Lexington County Detention Center.