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18-year-old charged after deadly shooting at Columbia gas station, witnesses speak out


An 18-year-old has been charged with two felonies including murder after he is accused of shooting and killing a person at a gas station in Columbia on Thursday night.

Seth A. Brinegar, of Columbia, is charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action. He is being held at the Boone County Jail without bond. A court date has not been set.

According to a probable cause statement, Brinegar is accused of shooting the victim at the FastLane parking lot on West Boulevard while the victim was pumping gas. Police did not name the victim in court documents, but later stated in a press release that Corey Bilger was the victim. He was 33.

Police said security video shows Bilger talking on a phone while pumping gas when Brinegar pulled into the parking lot. The video allegedly shows Brinegar with his window down and talking to someone before stopping behind the Bilger's vehicle.

Bilger approached Brinegar's vehicle and was gunned down, the statement says.

A witness told police that Brinegar had been yelling and cursing at Bilger before the shooting, the statement says. The victim had nothing but a cellphone in his hands.

Brinegar told police he had accused Bilger of following him before he shot the victim.

Carla English lives in the area and recalls hearing five gunshots, prompting her to immediately run back inside her house. English described the moment as terrifying, and said it was shocking to hear about a shooting in the area.

"I was just terrified because when I heard the shots I was thinking it was a drive by shooting or something,"  English said. "So, I'm just terrified at this point because nothing usually goes on on this street."

Several customers were at the open gas station, police say. A car with a 6-month-old passenger was hit, but the baby wasn't hurt.

Michelle Howell -- who is the manager of Cheddar's, which located near the gas station -- said she and her employees didn't hear the shooting from inside the restaurant, but were curious about the large police presence.

Howell said the scene was surreal, and the scariest part was not knowing whether or not the suspect was in custody.

Police said in a press release that they were able to take Brinegar into custody, after witnesses stated he was still present. English said she saw Brinegar sitting in his car, and that he appeared to be "waiting for police to come get him." 

English said knowing he was so close made her feel uneasy, adding that the events make her question her grandchildren's safety, who visit every weekend. 

"That's a scary thought to know that he was still sitting there across the street," English said. "So, now it's a thought to you know keep an eye on them out here."

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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