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Behind the scenes

Posted: June 15, 2017 3:07 p.m.
Updated: June 16, 2017 1:00 a.m.

As you can probably imagine, it’s impossible to, literally, include everything about a particular event, person or issue in a single article or even a series of articles in a newspaper.

The most common reasons for this are space, time, information officials can’t or won’t disclose, or simply not knowing about something in time to include it in the story.

Thanks to a tip from a reader, I learned about the May 22 arrest and extradition of three Camden men in connection with a gun trafficking case in New York City. I contacted the New York County District Attorney’s Office and soon had a copy of their press release and indictment in my inbox. Those two things, plus a YouTube video of a press conference, gave me pretty much everything I needed.

However, there were two things that didn’t make it in.

First, you may have noticed we didn’t include any mugshots of the Camden suspects. That’s because the N.Y. Department of Corrections never releases booking photos of detainees. So, I was out of luck there.

The other thing I often do with crime stories is provide some background on the suspects. I didn’t have time to do that last week, but decided to take a look this week.

Did you know one of the suspects -- Liq’uel Robinson, 19, of Red Hill Road, Camden -- was charged with attempted murder last year? I didn’t, because I wasn’t here at the time.

County deputies arrested Robinson on Sept. 8, 2016, for allegedly shooting another man in the back a few weeks earlier. I won’t go into further specifics because it turns out the case was dismissed by the end of November. The 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office told me Thursday that there “was an issue with the victim’s credibility.” The solicitor’s office dismissed the case with leave to restore, meaning they could recharge Robinson.

Basically, they told me, the victim was “being less than cooperative with law enforcement.”

In the meantime, another suspect, Troy Antonio Allen, 32, also of Red Hill Road, Camden, pleaded guilty way back in 2004 for unlawful possession of a machine gun, sawed-off shotgun or rifle. Nine years later, he was arrested for the unlawful sale or delivery of weapons, but the charge was ultimately dismissed.

Both Allen and Robinson have been arrested on various drug charges, but most were dismissed. The third Camden suspect, Shakial R.T. Shephard, 22, of Kings Avenue, Camden, barely has any record I can find.

Moving on...

A lot of people seemed to like the pictures I took of the demolition of the Lugoff Elementary School (LES) gymnasium that appeared in Tuesday’s paper. I believe that’s “like” from an artistic point of view -- no one really likes to see their school torn down.

Here’s some little behind the scenes tidbits about the photo shoot.

First of all, I found out about the demolition about 10 minutes before it was supposed to begin. In fact, I was just about to make breakfast! But, hop in the car I did, picked up my camera from the office and headed over to Lugoff. Luckily, the crew was waiting for Kershaw County School District Director of Operations Billy Smith and LES Principal Melissa Lloyd to arrive, which they did a few minutes later.

For you shutterbugs, the C-I recently purchased a pair of Canon EOS Rebel T6 cameras with additional lenses and various filters, including a UV filter for outdoor photography.

For this project, I took advantage of the Rebel’s “Sports” setting, which put the camera into “action” mode. Aim, hold down the shutter and click-click-click-click-click-click-click. During the next 90 minutes or so, I took nearly 500 pictures! Sounds like a lot, but that’s what it took to get the nine pictures we printed in Tuesday’s edition and placed on our website.

I do not consider myself a professional photographer, which is why I was ecstatic about how they came out. To see that basketball hang in mid-air ... or the bricks raining down ... or concrete blocks flying away from the building ... definitely worth the time on what could have been a very easy Friday at the office.

And, yes, I have just enough ego to say it didn’t hurt that I was the only journalist there.

Finally, a little “full disclosure” on the newlywed shark-bite story, but one I didn’t know I needed to make until a week after the story ran.

It turns out I am a patient at the family medical practice where the bride-to-be’s mother works and where she has worked herself at times.

I was sitting in the waiting room when a young lady breezed through, right hand wrapped in bandages. Too late, I realized I should have called out, “Kate Hudson!”

I’m pretty sure she would’ve gotten the reference.


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