Businesses along Ocean Boulevard express safety concerns after back-to-back shootings

Updated: May. 25, 2020 at 2:26 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Some business owners along Ocean Boulevard are expressing major safety concerns after back to back shootings occurred within miles of their stores.

The latest shooting happened early Sunday morning on Ocean Boulevard, leaving several people injured.

The previous shooting happened one week ago a few blocks from the recent Sunday shooting and both incidents involved rival gang members, authorities said.

Many nearby businesses said they’re worried about the reoccurring gang violence happening near Ocean Boulevard because they don’t know what to expect next.

Rayen Aish, a cashier at Discount City, a few miles from where both shootings occurred, said the trend in violence makes her very concerned about working a normal shift on the job.

“Honestly, I’m kind of scared coming to work every night and staying late,” Aish said. "[I think about] being in danger and what if it happens to me one day.”

Aish said she’d fully support the city implementing a curfew if it means keeping the businesses and residents safer.

Robbie Henderson, a manager for Generation X store on Ocean Boulevard, said last weekend’s shooting was already impacting their business and was seeing a big decrease in foot traffic.

“It’s killing my business," Henderson said. "Because every time something extraordinary happens [in this area] it shuts down the boulevard.”

Like many businesses, Henderson said the store was already focusing on keeping employees safe during a pandemic and having to now be concerned about a possible trend of shootings is becoming a bit too much to handle.

“We’re over here trying to make sure we’re safe but at the same time not get anything from COVID-19," Henderson said. "Makes it really hard to do our jobs.”

Neighboring businesses agree, saying this kind of violence could ultimately affect all the Myrtle Beach businesses', bottom line.

“It could really scare away the tourists and customers if they keep hearing about shootings here in Myrtle Beach," Aish said. "Tourists want it to be a fun, safe, loving city to come to and shootings makes it [appear] really dangerous.”

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