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Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin's brother-in-law murdered

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Residents of Columbia, South Carolina, were stunned by the news that a murder in Charlotte, North Carolina, had connections with two of Columbia’s most prominent families. Donald Everett Gist, 38, was shot to death in broad daylight this past Friday. According to authorities this was no random act. Police have offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Arthur L. Givens in connection with the murder.

Givens is a known felon with a history of violent offences. Although no motive has been released, police stated that they have reason to believe that Givens and Gist knew each other. Gist was shot outside of a convenience store around 1:15pm Friday afternoon and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gist is the brother-in-law of Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, who was just re-elected to a second term in November. Mayor Benjamin was in Colorado attending a leadership-in-governance conference at the time of the shooting, but he and the Gist family issued a joint statement expressing their shock and grief.

In addition to being the Mayor’s brother-in-law, Gist’s family is also very influential in the state of South Carolina. His sister is a circuit court judge, the Honorable DeAndrea G. Benjamin. His father is Attorney Donald Gist, senior partner of the Gist Law firm. Gist is survived by his wife and son, his parents, his sister, and a host of relatives and friends.

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