Hardeeville shooting: Estill suspect named, charged with 24 counts of attempted murder

Estill man Jacob Gabriel Rivers, 33, has been charged with two dozen counts of attempted murder for allegedly opening fire inside a building full of employees Friday morning outside Hardeeville. Investigators believe the suspect “has some affiliation” with the business, KBRS, Inc., a kitchen and bath manufacturer on Highway 17.

Each charge likely corresponds with one employee inside the building when the shooting took place, according to department spokesperson Chief Jeff Crosby. One person who had been shot was taken to a Savannah hospital and was believed to be in stable condition, he added.

Crosby would not say whether the suspected shooter was targeting one person inside the business or had been firing at multiple employees. The incident was publicized as an “active shooter situation” but only because that’s how police initially received the call, he said.

After the shooting around 8:20 a.m. Friday, Rivers was found “walking away” along Highway 17 and was detained “without any incident,” Jasper County Sheriff Donald L. Hipp told reporters at a press conference that morning. Investigators believe the gunshot victim was employed at KBRS and the suspect “has some affiliation” with the company.

Hardeeville Chief of Police Sam Woodward said that at the start of their response, he and his officers checked the back of the building, finding employees “pointing down the road” toward the armed suspect. “That’s how we knew who we were looking for at the time,” he said.

The KBRS facility on Hardeeville’s Speedway Blvd. (Highway 17) manufactures waterproof shower appliances. Investigators believe both the victim and suspect in Friday morning’s shooting were connected to the business.
The KBRS facility on Hardeeville’s Speedway Blvd. (Highway 17) manufactures waterproof shower appliances. Investigators believe both the victim and suspect in Friday morning’s shooting were connected to the business.

Although the business on Speedway Blvd. had not been assessed for active shooter training purposes prior to the incident, Jasper County sheriff’s deputies evaluated the building over the weekend, Crosby told The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette. A number of officers were stationed at KBRS Monday morning to ensure employees’ safety.

Rivers, who had a handful of prior convictions in Beaufort and Hampton counties for drug possession, illegally owned weapons and armed robbery, was also charged Friday with two counts of possessing a weapon during a violent crime. Crosby said he didn’t know if the man had two weapons at the time of the shooting.

The 33-year-old suspect was booked Friday at the Jasper County Detention Center and was denied bond Monday morning. His first appearance in court is scheduled for mid-April, judicial records show.