University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides has stopped short of calling for students to stay away from Columbia's popular Five Points entertainment district, but he is warning that the place is too dangerous for students after midnight.
That's in response to a USC freshman -- an innocent bystander – being shot about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
18-year-old Martha Childress and a friend were waiting for a taxi by the Five Points fountain when the gunfire occurred.
Pastides says USC set aside an additional $2-million for campus security this year. The money is for additional officers, cameras, and streetlights.
And he is urging Columbia city leaders, police, and Five Points business owners to do more as well, including possibly closing down after 2 a.m.
Police have recently created a new substation in the area and are enforcing a curfew for those under 18. Police patrols have increased and a network of surveillance cameras is in place.
City officials have called a special community meeting today to further discuss security in Five Points.
The session will be at the police department's PACE Team headquarters at 1001 Harden Street in the Food Lion shopping center at 5:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Childress' family wants tougher charges against the shooting suspect.
Michael Smith faces multiple charges that include assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.
But Childress' uncle, Jim Carpenter, contends Smith should be charged with attempted murder. And Carpenter feels Smith should have already been behind bars.
“This guy had a record of two felonies,” Carpenter says. “He was 20 years old. He had two felonies...convicted...and at separate times. And then he had been arrested two more times, we believe, in the summer of 2013 and yet he's out walking the streets.”
Carpenter points out that Smith was also prohibited from having a weapon as a convicted felon.
Police say he used a stolen gun early Sunday morning to shoot at two people during an argument.
Childress was struck by a stray bullet that lodged near her spine.
She's paralyzed from the waist down.