Neighbors focus on building safer communities while remembering shooting victims

National Night Out in Horry County

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Communities across the Grand Strand and Pee Dee attended annual National Night Out events at a time when people across the nation have the deadly shootings from this past weekend on their minds.

Hundreds gathered Tuesday night at the Smith-Jones Recreation Center in Conway to get to know the law enforcement officers serving the community a little bit better.

Simultaneously, others gathered to honor the memory of the 31 people killed in Texas and Ohio over the weekend during two separate mass shootings and to raise awareness about gun violence.

“We’re here to lend our voices to say that something has to be done," said Rev. Rob Donehue of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church. "That it’s our responsibility as citizens of this country, as people of faith, as people of no faith, to speak out against what has become a sickeningly part of the social dialogue.”

Members of Grand Strand Action Together gathered at Valor Park in The Market Common to honor the 22 people killed in El Paso, Texas, the nine people killed in Dayton, Ohio and the many more who were shot within 24 hours over the weekend.

“Every several weeks we’re gathering together to say why can’t we fix the problem that’s happening over and over and over again in this country,” Donohue said.

Meanwhile, people across the nation attended National Night Out events within their community to build a relationship between law enforcement and the people they serve in hopes of having a safer community.

“We want our citizens to know to come to us if you need anything, that’s what we’re here for,” said Horry County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Brooke Holden.

Holden believes events such as this can help further relationships between the community and all of the agencies that work together so if something major happens in our area, they’ll be prepared.

“Here at the sheriff’s office we have so many partnerships with our local law enforcement agencies and it goes from planning, training together, meetings so that in times of need or in times of crisis we can pick up the phone and get what needs to be done,” explained Holden.

Donehue said not only are the partnerships between law enforcement and the community important but so is accountability.

“Something needs to be done, something needs to be done, something needs to be done.... we’ve been saying this for decades and yet nothing has been done," Donehue said.

The FBI is launching an investigation into what motivated a gunman to kill nine people in a matter of seconds.

This, as both Ohio and Texas, prepare for presidential visits.

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