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Al Sharpton, SC police to talk gun violence, white supremacy after Dayton, El Paso shootings

Local and federal law enforcement officials develop strategies to stop violence in north Columbia

U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon, Police Chief Skip Holbrook, and Sheriff Leon Lott speak to a north Columbia community to reduce violence and other crimes.
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U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon, Police Chief Skip Holbrook, and Sheriff Leon Lott speak to a north Columbia community to reduce violence and other crimes.

In the wake of the recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, South Carolina officials will be meeting with civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton to discuss what can be done to combat gun violence.

The round table in Columbia on Wednesday will focus on gun violence, mass shootings and white nationalism, according to a statement from Building Better Communities, a group focused on improving relationships between law enforcement and community members.

The group’s press release says that representatives from the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the Columbia Police Department, Elder James Johnson of the National Action Network, and community and faith leaders will join Sharpton at the meeting.

The round table is hosted by the S.C. National Action Network, Building Better Communities, the Faith Coalition on Gun Violence, Brady United to Prevent Gun Violence and Next Steps.

The event — which will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Decker Center at 2500 Decker Boulevard — is open to the public, but those wishing to attend must register online.

The meeting was scheduled after more than 30 people were killed in the span of 14 hours early this month during separate mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. Police believe that the alleged shooter in El Paso may be tied to a racist screed posted online shortly before the shooting.

The El Paso shooting is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism.

In July, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before Congress about the rise of domestic terrorism in the United States. Wray said that this year alone, the FBI made about 100 domestic terrorism arrests and that most of those could be attributed or tied to white supremacists.

Emily Bohatch helps cover South Carolina’s government for The State. She also updates The State’s databases. Her accomplishments include winning a Green Eyeshade award in Disaster Reporting in 2018 for her teamwork reporting on Hurricane Irma. She has a degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish from Ohio University’s E. W. Scripps School of Journalism.
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