MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – It was standing-room only at a special-called Myrtle Beach City Council meeting on Tuesday afternoon, where law enforcement, community leaders and members of the public came out to discuss the recent outbreak of shootings within the city.
Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes opened the meeting by praising the police's quick response to the mass shooting on Saturday night. He said police responded to the scene of the shooting on Ocean Blvd. at 4th Ave. North within three minutes of receiving the call.
Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus was the first speaker, and he said that he plans to meet with public safety personnel Tuesday to formulate plan for county to help city during peak times. Lazarus said we can't let actions of a few jeopardize what founding fathers have built, the number one entertainment destination on the East Coast.
Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President Brad Dean spoke next. He said that repairing Myrtle Beach's image after the weekend of violence is like "fighting a wildfire with a garden hose." He said that no amount of paid advertising can undo the amount of publicity the last few days, and said he wants to work with the state to use advertising dollars for law enforcement, like what was done after the spate of shooting during Memorial Day weekend in 2014.
"I'll be damned if I'm going to let a bunch of criminals keep us from doing the job that we've all committed to do," Dean said.
Mickey James, of local NAACP chapter, said this city can't afford that kind of reputation and we can't afford that as citizens here. James said this isn't a black or white issue. He just sees a gun.
Former Myrtle Beach mayor Mark McBride asked the council to take a portion of its accommodations tax and put it toward public safety, adding that $4.5 million could put 100 new police officers on the streets.
"It's an embarrassment the governor is coming down here to tell you all how to run the city." McBride said, referencing Gov. Henry McMaster's visit to the Grand Strand on Thursday to discuss the recent shootings.
A member of the public said a state of emergency should be declared before calling for the resignations of the mayor, city administrator and city council.
Five shootings were reported in Myrtle Beach between Saturday, June 17 and Monday, June 19. View an interactive story map of all five incidents here.
Overnight Saturday, seven people were injured in a shooting on Ocean Boulevard at 4th Avenue North, including the alleged shooter and a security guard. The incident was streamed on Facebook Live by Bubba Hinson, and the video has since been viewed over 4 million times. Police have not yet released the identity of the suspect involved, as that person is still in the hospital.
On Sunday night, there was a report of shots fired near the Dunes Village resort.
Finally, on Monday, Myrtle Beach Police responded to a call of shots fired in the downtown area, but the victim refused medical treatment and was not cooperating with the investigation.
Interim Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock talked about the shootings while addressing the council.
She said the suspect Ocean Boulevard shooting is involved in gang activity in North Carolina and knew the immediate victim.
According to Prock, the victims were: an 18-year-old male from N.C.; an 18-year-old female from N.C.; a juvenile; a 17-year-old female from Ohio; an 18-year-old female from N.C.; and a local security guard.
All were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Regarding the status of the other recent shootings, Prock said the Saturday incident at the Coastal Grand Mall was a drug deal gone bad. Two suspects were arrested.
Shortly thereafter, there was a shooting at the Crown Reef Resort on Ocean Boulevard. According to Prock, a suspect is known but that information was not released because the person is not yet in custody.
In reference to the Dunes Village and the Lazy G Motel shootings, Prock said police are not receiving cooperation in those investigations.