Neighborhood gets back to normal after armed robberies

Neighbors tried to get their lives back to normal Sunday evening after three armed robberies rocked a southwest Columbia neighborhood just after midnight.

The trouble began when a man on Grant Court was robbed at gunpoint as he was unloading his vehicle in his garage just after midnight. Two suspects stole property from him and fled on foot. While police spoke with him, they were sent to Teakwood Court, just two streets away, for an armed robbery involving shots fired. Two suspects, who police believe were the same men who hit Grant Court, had held up a Teakwood resident and taken the keys to his truck. The resident retrieved a gun from his house and opened fire on the suspects, who returned fire and left a bullet hole in a shutter. The suspects fled on foot again.

At this point, fellow Teakwood resident Brett Walker informed police on the scene that he had also been robbed. Speaking with KRCG 13 in his living room Sunday afternoon, Walker explained he had returned after helping with sound equipment at a party at a nearby country club. He said his backpack and phone were stolen from his garage. While he was looking for his backpack, Walker said he heard gunshots just down the street.

Walker said police used a locator app on his phone to track the two suspects as they fled through the neighborhood. His wife lent police her phone so they could track the suspects on the run. The couple watched on a laptop as the two icons representing the phones "danced" around the neighborhood, in Brett's words, before the suspects abandoned the phone. Police were able to recover his backpack and all of its contents. They also found his phone but are currently keeping it as evidence. Walker said he was happy nobody was hurt.

"Everybody's healthy and wealthy and the bad guys didn't get our stuff," he said.

A few houses away, Steve Shufelberger said the commotion outside awoke him just before the shots were fired at the house across the street from him. Shufelberger said he retrieved his handgun and watched until the suspects fled and police arrived. Shufelberger said it was sad to see this happen in the neighborhood he has called home for 27 years, but he said he is not going to change his lifestyle because of Sunday morning's events.

"I'm not going to let a couple bad apples ruin my lifestyle," he said.