MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - City and county leaders have issued statements, recently, in response to the violence in Myrtle Beach over Memorial Day weekend.
Myrtle Beach Chief Police Warren Gall said this is the most violent period he recalls in his 34 years with the city. In other words, this is the greatest number of violent incidents in such a short period of time.
"The rallies, because of their size and length, have traditionally resulted in higher crime and/or fatality numbers during the three weeks in May when they occur, and that's been the case since the mid-1990s," acknowledged City Spokesman Mark Kruea.
"That's one of the major reasons the city said 'no thanks' to the huge rallies back in 2009, but as you can see, turning the ship around takes a while," Kruea added.
On Wednesday, Kruea issued the following statement:
Members of the Myrtle Beach City Council are shocked, angry, disappointed and saddened by the crime and violence that occurred this past weekend along Ocean Boulevard and elsewhere during the Atlantic Beach Bikefest, May 23-26. The city does not sponsor, support or encourage the unpermitted rally and certainly does not condone or tolerate criminal behavior.
"The shootings that resulted in a loss of life, as well as the other crime and violence last weekend, are appalling," said Mayor John Rhodes on behalf of City Council. "The safety of our residents and visitors is paramount, and we will do everything in our power to bring the criminals to justice and prevent these illegal activities from recurring," he added.
In the wake of the violence, members of the Myrtle Beach City Council are working with local and state officials, including Horry County Council and the Legislative Delegation, to address the crime and overcrowding that occurred during last weekend's event. "We welcome all assistance from our Grand Strand neighbors and our state lawmakers," Mayor Rhodes said, "as we search for solutions to prevent these excesses from happening again."
A meeting with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and other local leaders is one of the first steps. The discussion will include additional manpower and other resources for next year, all aimed at halting the lawlessness associated with the Atlantic Beach Bikefest. Support from the residents and the business community is welcome.
City Council's mission is to provide a safe environment for all who live, work and vacation in Myrtle Beach. Council members have clearly stated that the events which occurred last weekend during the Atlantic Beach Bikefest were completely unacceptable.