MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach police are searching for a suspect after an early-morning shooting at a bar in Five Points sent a man to the hospital.
According to a police report, officers with the Myrtle Beach Police Department responded to the emergency room where a man had been brought in with a gunshot wound.
A witness who was at the hospital with the victim said he was coming in the front door of a bar with an address that matches Natalia's Bar and Grill in the Five Points neighborhood. The witness said he heard three gunshots. The witness did not see the shooter, but said the victim was about to sit down at the bar before the shots rang out.
Two other witnesses drove the victim to the hospital.
This latest shooting is frustrating for people who live and work around Five Points, and for those trying to revive the area and turn it into a stable economic center for businesses. City leaders have made great efforts to clean up Five Points. They have held meeting with businesses and the community to talk about what needs to change.
On Wednesday, WMBF News reported a $15,000 better block grant is being spent on improvements in Five Points, and to fund an event in the fall.
Despite all of these efforts, people say the area still just isn't safe.
"You got shootings," said Dawn Settle, who lives near Five Points. "You got robberies. You got muggings. You got people going up and down asking straight up 'Do you sell drugs? Do you have drugs?'"
Natalia's Bar and Grill is right beside Nance Plaza, a space many consider a hidden gem in Myrtle Beach. On some mornings, litter, cigarettes and alcohol bottles can be seen strewn around the sidewalks, and the air smells of booze.
City leaders ask for patience, saying the community needs to keep pushing to drive out crime.
"This is a long-term mission," Five Points Association President John Krajc said. "We will keep pushing to make the District a more positive atmosphere through our efforts. Other areas in the county have seen similar revitalization but it can take years."
The suspect in the shooting was identified as 34-year-old Eric Lavin McCrea. Police plan to charge him for attempted murder. He is described by police as a black male, 5-feet-9-inches tall, 210 pounds in weight, with black hair and brown eyes. He has tattoos on both of his forearms, and drives a bronze 2004 Nissan Armada with SC license plate JXD286.
McCrea is wanted for attempted murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and may be armed and dangerous. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call MBPD at 843-918-1382.