Sports Bar Shooting Leaves Security Officer Dead

Feb. 6--Security guard dies at restaurant that opened over sheriff's protest

Deputies are searching for a man they say shot five people -- one fatally -- early Monday at a sports bar and restaurant that opened two years ago over the protests of the Richland County Sheriff's Department.

John Darrell Tolbert Adams, 29, of 3430 Broad River Road, Columbia, died at 5:17 a.m. Monday at Palmetto Health Richland, about four hours after he was shot, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said.

Adams was a security guard at the 360 Sports Grill at 826 Bush River Road, sheriff's spokesman Lt. Chris Cowan said.

The suspect, Johnnie Walker Gaskins, 26, of Lyndhurst Road, Columbia, remained at large Monday night. He is charged with one count of murder and four counts of assault and battery with intent to kill, Cowan said.

Gaskins has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 1998, with convictions for trespassing, failure to stop for a blue light, possession of marijuana and controlled substances, and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, State Law Enforcement Division records show.

Two other male security guards -- one whose age was unknown and the other 22 -- were shot, along with two women, ages 20 and 27, who were patrons, Cowan said, adding all the victims are from the Columbia area. Their names were not being released Monday.

The women and one man, whose age was unknown, were in serious condition Monday afternoon at Palmetto Health Richland, Cowan said. The other man was in stable condition at the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, he said.

About 1 a.m. Monday while at the sports bar, Gaskins became belligerent with employees who had told him he "had enough to drink and needed to leave," Sheriff Leon Lott said in a prepared statement.

Security guards escorted him outside, where he was met by an acquaintance who said he would take him home, Lott said. Cowan said the guards either were employees of the bar/restaurant or a private company, though he couldn't provide specifics.

Several minutes later, a man believed to be Gaskins drove up alone to the front of the bar in a newer-model blue Chevrolet Impala and opened fire with a handgun, according to Lott and Cowan.

Workers later Monday morning were cleaning up shattered glass from the front doors.

A portable sign at the entrance of the parking lot advertised "Super Bowl Bash Here."

The bar/restaurant is owned by Lindburgh Porterfield III and M. Eugene Favor, state Department of Revenue records show. The county business license is registered to Porterfield; state court records from 2005 said the 6,000-square-foot building has seating for 100 people and a 400-square-foot bar.

Efforts Monday to reach Porterfield and Favor were unsuccessful.

In October 2005, Administrative Law Court Judge Carolyn Matthews granted the owners, whose company is called L&M Enterprise Solutions LLC, a beer-and-wine permit and liquor license over the objections of the Sheriff's department.

In court papers, the department said it had "worked diligently to clean up the area in recent years," noting there had been "numerous law enforcement problems" in the area. Cowan said Monday a club that previously had been at the site of the bar/restaurant had been a "major problem."

The department in court papers also said it was "concerned about the involvement" of one of the owners, who was not identified, with a former club on Broad River Road.

Matthews said the fact that the owners held a liquor license for a Lexington County club and there were no license violations there was a "very significant point" in favor of the owners.

In granting the liquor license for the 360 Sports Grill, Matthews required the owners to hire a security guard to watch the parking lot, prevent loitering on the grounds, and close the business at 1 a.m. daily.

There have been no license violations since 2005, state records show.

There have been 16 reported criminal incidents at the location in the last two years, none serious, Cowan said.

In court papers, the owners said they initially wanted to open a barbecue restaurant at the location but abandoned those plans because of the presence of a strip club next door.

Copyright (c) 2007, The State, Columbia, S.C. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.