CHAPIN, S.C. — Tributes continue to come in for two local soldiers killed at a Lake Murray bar who witnesses say were trying to help a woman who was being attacked.
Deputies say 40-year-old Staff Sgt. Charles Allen Judge Jr. and 29-year-old Sergeant 1st Class Jonathan Michael Prins were both shot and killed by 25-year-old Joseph Elijah Mills outside the Frayed Knot Bar & Grill on Dreher Island Road early Sunday morning.
Lexington deputies say Mills was involved in a fight with a woman outside the bar. Judge and Prins attempted to resolve the situation peacefully, but officers say Mills shot them.
Mills then left the scene after the killings, but was eventually captured late Sunday afternoon, officers said. At a hearing Monday, he was denied bond.
Justin Brooks, the owner of Frayed Knot, said Mills was kicking and hitting the victim on the ground. A group of people threw him off her, and while he was on the ground, he fired shots into the air.
"When [Judge and Prins] get in within two feet of him — they both have their hands up trying to talk to him — and he just shoots them in cold blood," Brooks said. "And then just walks off like nothing happened. Walked off like he was shopping at Walmart, right down the aisle. Put a shirt over his head so people couldn't see him and just walked right off."
"They are definitely heroes," he added.
The South Carolina National Guard says Judge was a staff sergeant and had served with them for 22 years. He was an engineer instructor in the 218th Regiment Leadership Command at McCrady Training Center.
Brian Deese, who served with Judge and was his supervisor in the guard, said he's not surprised his friend would take action.
"He'd do it 100 times again," Deese said. "He's a hero."
A Go Fund Me page says Prins leaves behind a wife and three small children.