Funeral held for father, son killed in bingo hall attempted armed robbery

Bingo hall murder victims' funeral

SUMTER, SC (WMBF) - A funeral was held for the father and son who were killed in a shooting at a Horry County bingo hall last week.

73-year-old Stephen “Steve” Johnson Sr., and his son 46-year-old Stephen “Sparky” Johnson Jr. owned the Waccamaw Bingo Hall where they were shot during an attempted armed robbery.

The ceremony was held Friday afternoon in their hometown of Sumter at the Sumter County Civic Center.

Many people from the area, along with people from Horry County where the duo had run the bingo hall since the 1990s, attended the service.

During the ceremony Sparky’s daughter, Savannah Johnson, reminisced about her father’s love of the outdoors and his kind heart.

Tricia Crabtree, the Johnsons’ cousin, described Sparky as the jokester of the family.

“You couldn’t be around him that you weren’t laughing. He was always joking, kidding. He was a grown up, but he was a kid at heart,” Crabtree said.

She said Steve was the one who would always lend a helping hand.

“One of the most loving men. One of those men that will do anything for anybody,” Crabtree said.

Longtime bingo player Dorothia Bennett said she was there the night the two men were shot and killed.

“Everybody was screaming and hollering and it was awful,” Bennett said. “I still sit at home and cry all the time.”

Along with losing a place she called her second her home, Bennett said she lost people she considered family.

“I was one of the first customers there. Like a dad and a brother, we picked, we laughed,” she said.

Others said they’ll miss the simple things like just being able stop by for a quick chat.

“Every once and a while I’d stop in and just say hey for a few minutes and go on down the road, but now when I ride by, you know, you don’t have that opportunity,” Dan Ragan said.

Steve was buried at the Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery. Sparky was buried at the Pinewood Cemetery next to his son Skylar, who passed away in 2016.

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