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Man charged with firing rifle outside Clemson bar

By Riley Morningstar and Lauren Pierce

The Journal

CLEMSON — A Pendleton man who claimed he was enlisted in the National Guard was arrested over the weekend after police said he fired gunshots out of his vehicle outside a bar in downtown Clemson.

Police said a man arrested after a shooting outside Backstreets Pub and Grill in downtown Clemson on Saturday told officers he was in the National Guard. (Riley Morningstar | The Journal)

Junior Estuardo Ortiz, 25, of Lakewood Drive, was charged with use of a firearm under the influence of alcohol. Ortiz was released from the Clemson City Jail on Sunday with a $2,000 personal recognizance bond and is scheduled to appear for a hearing at the Pickens County Courthouse on June 24.


Police responded to Backstreets Pub and Grill on Earle Street at approximately 10:47 p.m. Saturday night, according to an incident report. A Backstreets employee declined to comment to The Journal about the incident when reached by phone Monday.

Multiple witnesses told police a man pointed a rifle out of his vehicle several times, the report said. One witness told police Ortiz fired up to 10 shots in the air.

The report said an officer saw the suspected car coming out of the parking lot of a coffee shop next door to the bar while at the scene. The officer ordered Ortiz to step out of the vehicle on Keith Street. Inside the car, the officer said there were “several spent rounds of rifle ammunition,” along with a Smith and Wesson M&P 15. The report said a witness told police a Backstreets employee made eye contact with Ortiz before he pointed the rifle out of his car and fired toward the sky.

Clemson Police Capt. Matt Culbreath told The Journal Ortiz told city jailers he was with the U.S. National Guard. The branch’s media relations team did not respond to a media request from The Journal by press time Monday.

“They did a fantastic job,” Culbreath said of the officers who responded to the gun shots. “I would expect no less from them.”

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