City leaders applaud Gov. Haley's response to bikefest violence

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Gov. Nikki Haley came to Conway on Friday to talk about hurricane preparedness but ended the discussion by saying, 'End bikefest'.

"It is time for that bikefest to come to an end, and that is the way that I am going to talk to the elected officials of Atlantic Beach ... and I think everybody in Horry County should come together and say no more," said Haley.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, three people were shot to death outside the Bermuda Sands Hotel in Myrtle Beach and several others were wounded in a two day period following eight different shootings. The situation has left a blood stain on the community.

"Fighting this publicity is like fighting a forest fire with a hose," said Brad Dean, the President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

As tourism officials work through the PR nightmare, the Mayor of Myrtle Beach is being held accountable to citizens for safety.

"The great thing to know is the fact that the governor is on board, she has vowed that she is going to give the sources we need to solve this problem," said Mayor John Rhodes.

"The problem was the lack of curfew, the lack of any sort of noise ordinance and the lack of any sort of discipline," said Haley.

Law enforcement officials intend to sit down with Haley's law enforcement team to determine solutions going forward.

There were no Atlantic Beach officials in attendance at the meeting today and the Governor says she wants to sit down with them soon for  solutions. She also added the state will not promote an event that doesn't represent South Carolina.

Mayor John Rhodes is interested in a bill that would change the law so that more police can be brought in from other states because even if bikefest comes to an end, leaders realize you can't stop people from freely traveling where they desire.

"We want everybody to come," said Mark Lazarus, the Horry County Council Chairman. "We are open to families, we are open to everyone who wants to come but we want people to abide by our laws."

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.