LAKE CITY, SC (WBTW) – The attorney for a man charged in connection to a Lake City shooting says her client wasn’t in town when the incident happened and was wrongfully arrested and charged.
Attorney Rose Mary Parham held a press conference in Florence Friday morning, where she said Lake City police wrongfully charged Zahir Buie in connection to a shooting that happened on September 20 at Mary’s Club.
News13’s Annie Mapp was at the press conference and will have more on News13 at noon, 5, 6, and 11 p.m. CLICK HERE to watch News13 live.
News13 previously reported that Buie was arrested on three counts of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
Parham says in a press release that Buie was celebrating his birthday with his girlfriend at a friend’s house in Florence the night the shooting happened. She says Buie and his girlfriend later went to Waffle House for dinner, stopped at an Exxon gas station, and then checked into a room at Florence’s Express Inn.
“At the very same time Zahir was celebrating his birthday at dinner, a violent crime was being committed thirty miles away in Lake City,” Parham said. “At 11’o clock, the same time my client was eating at the Waffle House, there people were being shot at Mary’s Club in Lake City.”
Parham claims Lake City police charged Buie in the shooting “five days later with little more than the uncorroborated statements of two witnesses.” She also claims that prior to Buie being charged, police “had not reviewed any videos, they had not performed ballistics analysis of any weapons or bullets, they had not performed gunshot residue testing, nor had they even attempted to call Zahir to hear his side of the story.”
Parham also claims that Lake City police interviewed Buie’s brother the day after the shooting, and that Buie’s brother “was physically and verbally assaulted by Lake City law enforcement when he disputed their narrative of what they wanted to hear. After this assault, he was treated at the Lake City Hospital for injuries sustained at the hands of law enforcement.”
Zahir’s brother filed a written complaint “accusing the Lake City Police Department with brutality,” Parham said. “Three days after this complaint was filed, that very same agency charged Zahir with three counts of attempted murder for the shooting Mary’s Club in Lake City.”
“One might suggest that the timing of the assault of Zahir’s brother, his complaint of police brutality, and the charging decision against Zahir is a coincidence. I think not,” Parham also said.
According to Parham, Buie’s family hired her firm after his arrest, and they “immediately did what law enforcement should have done” by listening to Buie’s story, interviewing witnesses, and getting video from the hotel, Exxon Station, and Waffle House Parham says Buie was at the night of the shooting.
Parham added they have obtained pictures of the injuries Buie’s brother reportedly sustained.
“These videos and photographs, which I will give to you, affirmatively demonstrate that my client was in Florence at 11 o’clock having dinner with his girlfriend at the same time the shooting was taking place in Lake City, thirty miles away.”
Lake City Police held a press conference Friday afternoon to respond to the allegations.
“We had probable cause to arrest Mr.Bouie as a result of an eyewitness identification,” said Lake City Police Chief Kipp Coker.
According to Coker, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and Florence County Solicitor’s Office is assisting the department with investigating the shooting and footage received from Attorney Parham.
The investigation is still ongoing.