Vista shooting suspect had parole extended the day before


Columbia, S.C. (WACH) -- John Bates, Jr., a primary suspect in Saturday's Vista shooting, had his parole extended merely one day before on that Friday.

Bates had charges from 2016 on assault and battery. Pete O' Boyle with the SC Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services (SCDPP) said his department had become involved when Bates had failed to meet certain requirements of his probation.

"He was not reporting when he was supposed to, and keeping appointments with his agent," said O'Boyle. "He had not paid some fees. He had an arrest in municipal court."

Authorities with SCDPP had taken Bates to court in order to impose "punitive measures", requesting up to 60 days in jail for Bates' violations. O' Boyle said that it was to show Bates the seriousness of following parole terms to the letter. The judge, however, wanted to extend one more opportunity for Bates to turn a new leaf.

"We understand there were some mitigating circumstances," said O'Boyle. "He had gotten a job with a rap/hip-hop company and that, possibly, going back to jail would interfere with his new employment. The judge decided to give him one last change to straighten his life out."

That same night, Bates fired rounds into a crowd at the Vista, leaving 8 people injured. Now, he currently awaits trial at the Richland County Jail on no bond.

O'Boyle says that there is now a warrant out for Bates for violating his parole by possessing a firearm, which parolees are not allowed to have. He could face the full-term of his previous 3 year sentence in addition to the charges accrued from Saturday's shooting.

"The judge said, if he screwed up one more time, then he was going back to prison for a lengthy period of time," said O'Boyle. "Unfortunately, apparently, Mr. Bates didn't get the message and that led to the incident down at the Vista."

The Columbia Police Department also issued a statement on the incident

This morning, Police Chief Skip Holbrook met with the owner of Empire Supper Club, Joe Stovall, and his attorney, Bakari Sellers.
The parties engaged in a professional, yet frank, discussion regarding the current situation as well as the circumstances regarding the shootings this weekend.
Stovall proposed specific steps he was willing to make to ensure the safety of the public and his customers if allowed to remain in operation. These steps are currently being reviewed by officials with the police department, as well as other city departments.
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