Police issue murder warrant in deadly shooting on Highway 57

Lakenneth Lonta Clarida, 31, is wanted for questioning in connection with the shooting. (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Lakenneth Lonta Clarida, 31, is wanted for questioning in connection with the shooting. (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A murder warrant has been issued for a Longs man in connection with a deadly shooting that took place 5 a.m. Monday in Horry County.

Tonya James, 24, from Longs, was killed in the shooting, according to Horry County Deputy Coroner Tony Hendricks.

Lakenneth Lonta Clarida, 31, was identified by detectives as a potential suspect in the shooting, and a murder warrant has been issued for him. He should be considered armed and dangerous, and resides in the Longs section of Horry County, but may be in North Carolina at this time. He is described as 6-foot-2-inches tall and about 195 pounds in weight.

Attempts to locate Clarida throughout the day Monday were unsuccessful, police stated.

Lieutenant Robert Kegler with Horry County Police said the shooting occurred in a vehicle on Highway 57.

The vehicle then pulled behind the Popular Sportsman Club, where police were called.

Police say they found the vehicle in the neighborhood behind the club.

Neighbors say they woke up to over 20 police officers searching the area at about 5 a.m. and stayed on scene until 9 a.m.

Ulysses DeWitt, former county councilman, lives in the neighborhood.

He explained at first he thought it was a police chase but soon realized the vehicle remained still.

He described police taped off a section of the field between Rainbow Lane and Andrew Lane.

Other neighbors say police were on scene with their guns drawn and search dogs.

Neighbors were shocked to hear such a violent crime ended in their neighborhood.

"I was surprised, because that's where I live and I was surprised to see all of those emergency vehicles in one area. I didn't know what had happened," DeWitt said.

Lt. Robert Kegler said James was shot in the car and because of her condition, they believe she couldn't have driven herself into the neighborhood.

Kegler said that's why they have reason to believe at least one other person was in the car with her at the time of her shooting.

Police are asking anyone with information leading to Clarida's arrest to contact the Horry County Police Department at 915-TIPS. You can remain anonymous.

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