Suspect turns himself in after Florence Family Dollar shooting - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

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Suspect turns himself in after Florence Family Dollar shooting

Melvin James Johnson, Jr. Source: Florence Police Melvin James Johnson, Jr. Source: Florence Police

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – One person was shot in the parking lot of the Family Dollar on West Lucas Street in the City of Florence Friday afternoon, confirmed Major Carlos Raines with Florence Police.

Police were searching for the suspect in the shooting, 29-year-old Melvin James Johnson, Jr., who lives at North Irby Street in Florence, Major Raines said.

According to Raines, Johnson turned himself in Friday night at 9:30 p.m. A warrant for attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime was issued.

The person who was shot is still alive and was taken to the hospital. One witness, Richard Mearite was on the scene just minutes after the shooting. Mearite says he held the victim in his hands. “I was saying can you breath are you alright and we leaned him on the police car and that’s when he collapsed and I caught him before he hit the ground and we laid him down and that’s when the ambulance came. I lifted his shirt and saw that a bullet had went in him and we walked out and the cops started pulling up and his mom was saying, don’t die on me son, today is your birthday," said Mearite.

Mearite tells me as he walked up to the store, he saw glass everywhere from the window the suspect continued to shoot at and the victim walk outside with his mom and sister after going inside for help.

Raines says the suspect recognized the car in the parking lot and that’s why he approached it. He says the two knew each other. “This has been an ongoing problem between the victim and the suspect. The suspect apparently saw the victim’s car here and came up to the car armed with a hand gun and started banging on the window. The passenger in the car ran to go get assistance because they suspected something bad was going to happen and then started hearing gun shots. “

Mearite says with the victims family inside the car at the time, it could have been worse.

 “I opened the car door and the baby wasn’t crying, he was just looking and I saw all the glass and the bullet holes around him and was just thankful to God the baby didn’t get hit," said Mearite.

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