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Press Release

Columbia Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Being a Felon in Possession of Ammunition in Connection with a Near Fatal Shooting

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Bernard Breeland, 37, of Columbia, was sentenced to 1o years in federal prison after being found guilty at trial to possession of ammunition by a felon.

Evidence presented to the Court showed that Feb. 4, 2020, the City of Columbia Police Department (CPD) responded to a shooting incident at a local apartment complex. At the complex, CPD officers discovered a living male victim with multiple gunshot wounds lying in the parking lot near 9 fired .45 auto shell casings.

Further investigation by CPD led to the recovery of surveillance cameras which captured the incident. The surveillance footage revealed Bernard Breeland walking across a parking lot, grabbing a male by the collar, brandishing a firearm, and shooting the male at close range multiple times before running away from the crime scene. The shooting victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds as a result of the injury. Surveillance footage further revealed the shooting took place in a portion of the parking lot where CPD later recovered the .45 auto shell casings.

The shell casings were all the same brand, and a Nexus expert with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) testified at trial that the shells casings affected interstate commerce because they were manufactured outside of the state of South Carolina.

Breeland was a known gang member and an officer with the Midlands Gang Task Force identified Breeland from the surveillance footage. Breeland has a prior federal conviction for a racketeering conspiracy involving a national street gang which prohibited him from possessing a firearm or ammunition.

United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. sentenced Breeland to a maximum term of 120 months imprisonment, to be followed by three years of court-ordered supervision.  There is no parole in the federal system.

This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This case was investigated by the City of Columbia Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lamar J. Fyall and Benjamin Garner prosecuted the case.



Veronica Hill, Public Affairs Specialist,, (803) 929-3000

Updated November 3, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods