HCPD investigates late night shooting near Conway gas station - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Reported accomplice charged in Conway store clerk shooting

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Tamela Riggins, 29 (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center) Tamela Riggins, 29 (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
An employee of the Food Shop at 1300 Hwy. 501 Business in the Conway area was walking to his car after closing when he was approached by a suspect. An employee of the Food Shop at 1300 Hwy. 501 Business in the Conway area was walking to his car after closing when he was approached by a suspect.

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) An attempted armed robbery in the Conway area turned deadly Monday night when a suspect approached a store clerk in a business parking lot, showed a gun and demanded money.

According to Sgt. Robert Kegler with Horry County Police Department, around 10 p.m. Monday night an employee of the Food Shop at 1300 Hwy. 501 Business in the Conway area was walking to his car after closing when he was approached by a suspect. 

The suspect brandished a firearm and demanded money from the clerk, according to Kegler.  The clerk then drew a firearm and shots were exchanged between the two. The suspect was fatally wounded during the altercation. 

When officers arrived on scene they located one adult male deceased from apparent gunshot wounds in the parking lot of the business. Horry County Deputy Coroner Tony Hendrick has identified the man as 29-year-old Coaty Santel Deas.

Hendrick said the man's place of residence was not immediately available, but Horry County public records indicate Deas most recently lived in Loris.

During the course of the investigation, HCPD detectives identified an additional suspect as the driver and look out during the attempted robbery. 

Tamela Riggins, 29, of Conway was named as the suspect and has been located and arrested. She is currently at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center and has been booked on charges of attempted murder and attempted armed robbery. Bail has not been set.

The store clerk will not be charged in connection with the incident.

Teresa Baker lives near the Food Shop in Conway, and she said crime is on the rise in her area. Baker said, "I was raised here and I came back to stay with my mother last July. It is an ongoing thing about every week or every other week you see something going on around here."

Michael Hughes said, "All the time - robberies, break-ins, even in our neighborhood, we're having it. With the economy and people out of work they're looking for ways to supplement income."

Some are fighting back by getting concealed weapons permits. Concealed weapons instructors said their class sizes are double the number from last year.

Melvin McKinney, an instructor at Bass Pro Shop said, "Because crime is up. Simple…look at those who live in the neighborhood where it happens. They want the extra protection and want to get permits and know what the laws are."

McKinney said there are laws in place that allow people to carry a gun without a permit. McKinney added, "The South Carolina Protection of Property Act says without a concealed weapons permit you can carry a firearm in your home, car or place of business. Those three things - your castles you can protect."

McKinney said that is why the clerk in this case is not being charged. McKinney added, "Civil liability is one of the things that's addressed, and if you are right and it's justifiable then the law says you can't be hassled."

Employees at the Food Shop did not comment on the incident.

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