West Columbia Gunshot Detection Technology Leads to Arrests

Posted 11/21/22

West Columbia Police announced the arrest of two individuals Nov. 21 after shots were detected using ShotSpotter.

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West Columbia Gunshot Detection Technology Leads to Arrests

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West Columbia Police announced the arrest of two individuals Nov. 21 after shots were detected using ShotSpotter.

The gunshot detection system, which the department installed in August, uses strategically placed audio sensors to triangulate the precise location of gun incidents and the number of shots fired “within a minute but usually 30 seconds,” according to a press statement the department released when ShotSpotter was implemented.

The City of Columbia has used the technology since 2019.

“This morning at 10:39 a.m., West Columbia Police Officers received a ShotSpotter alert indicating 9 rounds were fired at the 1200 block of Holland Street,” West Columbia Police posted to Facebook Nov. 21. “We had officers on scene in 3 minutes. We were able to start an investigation into the incident and identify a suspect vehicle.”

The post details, and a spokesperson from for the Cayce Police confirmed to the Chronicle, that the neighboring department found the vehicle in the area near Glenn Street using information shared by West Columbia Police. 

West Columbia officers were on scene when the vehicle was found, Cayce Public Information Officer Ashley Hunter said.

The individuals — identified by West Columbia Police as a juvenile who was taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice and Cameron Tyreese Etheredge, 19 of West Columbia, who was taken to the Lexington County Detention Center — are both charged with unlawful carry of a firearm by Cayce Police, Hunter said.

Matt Deas, captain of investigations for the West Columbia Police, said his department has charged Etheredge with breach of peace of  an agravated nature.

While these are the first ShotSpotter-related arrests the department has announced, Deas said West Columbia Police have made other arrests as a result of the detection system since it was installed.

ShotSpotter has been criticized by some, including the ACLU, which published a report last year questioning ShotSpotter’s “methodology, effectiveness, impact on communities of color, and relationship with law enforcement.”

When it was implemented, West Columbia Police Chief Marion Boyce emphasized it’s not the only tool his department will utilize in combating gun violence.

 “It works very well with our gun violence reduction plan," Boyce told the Chronicle after this week's arrests Before this technology, we were dependent on the citizens calling us about incidents. Now, we get an alert and are usually on scene within 3 minutes. This leads to low trust communities seeing that we prioritize gun violence within their community and that we take this seriously.

This is a developing story and will continue to be updated.

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