Midlands Crimestoppers | 1-888-CRIME-SC
Midlands Crimestoppers
Home
News
About
Contact Crime Stoppers
Crime Stoppers FAQ
Donate to Crime Stoppers
Submit a Tip to Crimestoppers (New Window)
View & Search the Online Crime Map
Home  |  News  |  Suspect who killed self in front of police implicated in restaurant owner's murder

Suspect who killed self in front of police implicated in restaurant owner's murder
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

 

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - An armed robbery suspect shot himself in front of Columbia police officers Tuesday night rather than allowing himself to be arrested. Police now believe the man had murdered a restaurant owner less than an hour earlier.

Mario Jerome Stokes, 23, shot himself in the parking lot of the Walgreens on Garners Ferry Road around 9:29pm after a short chase by Columbia police, according to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. Lott said the suicide was the culmination of a brief armed robbery spree that included the murder of Steve Kim, who owned the restaurant Dino's on Decker.

Lott said the saga began when Stokes stole a white Ford Escape around 7:26pm. About an hour later, Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott said Stokes entered the Family Dollar on Leesburg Road, pulled out a handgun and hit an employee with the gun. Scott said Stokes fled in the Ford Escape with an undisclosed amount of money.

Around 8:50pm, Scott said Stokes entered the China Palace Restaurant on South Beltline Boulevard, committed an armed robbery and fled in the Ford Escape. Ten minutes later, police say Stokes went from a robbery to a murderer when he walked into Dino's on Decker and shot owner Steve Kim while robbing the restaurant.

Around 9:30pm, Scott said an officer saw the Ford Escape on Garners Ferry Road and tried to pull the SUV over. The SUV kept going, but Scott said Stokes eventually pulled into the Walgreens parking lot on Garners Ferry Road.

Officers called out to Stokes to show his hands and exit the vehicle, but Scott said Stokes did not respond. When officers approached the SUV, Scott said they found Stokes with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Investigators say the gun Stokes used matched ballistics from a gun stolen from the Columbia Metropolitan Airport on February 10. Lott said Stokes has a lengthy record that includes armed robbery, kidnapping, drug possession, hit-and-run and grand larceny.

Columbia police, Richland County deputies and the Richland County Coroner's Office are investigating.

Source: http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=14080887

If you, or someone you know, have any information regarding any crime, you are encouraged to contact Crimestoppers. You could earn a reward up to $1,000.

Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. Texters can send anonymous tips to CRIMES (274637), and mark the beginning of the message with "TIPSC". Text STOP to 274637 to cancel. Text HELP to 274637 for help. Msg&Data Rates May Apply.


Notice about comments:

Comments left on this site are NOT ANONYMOUS.

Crimestoppers does not take information on crimes here or via standard email because we cannot guarantee your anonymity. Any information sent to us through comments will NOT be acted upon and will be removed. Please call 1-888-CRIME-SC, or use our online tip form to give information anonymously to Crimestoppers.


More from Midlands Crimestoppers



DO NOT attempt to approach, detain, follow or arrest any individual based on this web site's information. As information becomes dated it may become less accurate. Because some wanted persons are being sought for crimes of violence, or are known to be armed, all wanted persons should be considered dangerous. If you have information regarding the identity or whereabouts of any wanted person immediately contact Crime Stoppers or notify your local law enforcement agency.

Site Design & Maintenance:
CharlestonImage.com
CharlestonImage.com

© Copyright Midlands Crimestoppers. All Rights Reserved.