Loved ones, community remember father, son killed at Myrtle Beach area bingo hall

Loved ones, community remember father, son killed at Myrtle Beach area bingo hall

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Hundreds of people came together Monday night at a vigil to honor the two men killed during an attempted robbery at a Myrtle Beach area bingo hall over the weekend.

The vigil took place outside the Waccamaw Bingo Hall.

Family and long-time friends paid their respects to 73-year-old Stephen “Steve” Johnson Sr., and 46-year-old Stephen “Sparky” Johnson Jr., the father-son duo who owned the bingo hall.

Teresa Williams said she and her husband, David, had been close friends with the Johnson family for more than 30 years.

“This still just don’t seem right. I’m standing right here and it’s real but it just don’t seem real,” Williams said.

Left: Stephen "Sparky" Johnson, Jr.; Right: Stephen "Steve" Johnson, Sr.
Left: Stephen "Sparky" Johnson, Jr.; Right: Stephen "Steve" Johnson, Sr. (Source: Stephens Funeral Home & Crematory)

“There’s two good people gone for no good reason whatsoever," said Sheila Bryant, who said the father and son always made her feel safe.

Christi Brunson, the daughter and sister of the victims, said funeral services for both men will take place Friday, Aug. 2, at 2 p.m. at the Sumter Convention Center. It is open to the public.

The two died during that attempted robbery that took place late Friday night at the bingo hall. Police are still searching for the suspect.

Mikayla Moskov with the Horry County Police Department said "it was heinous act and we’re not going to stand for it.” Moskov added that the department is exhausting all of its resources to find the suspect wanted in the shooting.


Brunson said her brother leaves behind 19-year-old triplets. He had another child who died a few years ago.

According to Brunson, Johnson Sr. beat colon cancer over a year ago. Her brother, Johnson Jr., conquered leukemia roughly six years, she said.

“It’s just hard to believe," Burnson said. "I couldn’t believe that they were gone and that somebody wouldn’t just come in and take the money and run. Don’t take someone’s life. The money means nothing. You can’t buy them back. I’m sure that there’s someone out there that knows who this gentleman is.”

Brunson said she’s thankful for all the support the community has given her and her family throughout this time.

She said the two men were exactly the kind of men parents want their kids to grow up to be.

“They were just remarkable, remarkable men," she said.

Williams said she and her husband played bingo at the business Wednesday night and had planned on being there Friday.

“We were going to come back Friday because he had off this week for vacation and something told me not to go and I loved going and I’ve never said go and I said no I don’t want to go and then someone text me and told me the news,” Williams said.

Monday night, people stood outside of the now-closed bingo hall remembering where they were when they found out the two men who had given them many good memories had been shot to death.

While also recalling the good times they had with the father and son, who they say they never saw apart.

“Every time I would walk in the door, I would walk up to his dad Steve who would sell the cards and while I was talking to Steve, Sparky would be in the booth calling the cards and he would always smile and wave at us. Always, every time,” David said.

“They would always have a smile, Sparky would always make a joke and make your life and you would never see one without the other," Bryant said.

Memorials may be made to Laurence Manning Academy, The Johnson Center, P.O. Box 278, Manning, S.C. 29102 or to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, according to online obituaries.

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