Darlington County law enforcement leaders, community take stand against recent violence

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 11:37 PM EDT
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DARLINGTON, S.C. (WMBF) - A community police forum was held at the Harmon Baldwin Recreation Center following a string of recent homicides.

Darlington Police Chief Kelvin Washington told the audience it’s going to take a community effort to put a stop to the violence. Just a couple of weeks ago, a string of homicides left a mother, 24-year-old and 16-year-old dead.

RELATED COVERAGE | ‘Bring these people to justice’: Darlington Co. authorities address recent string of homicides

He said the forum was a great way to engage with parents, leaders, and ministers to get everyone on the same page.

“Tonight was just the first of many meetings to come, and we want to get more stakeholders involved so we can move forward,” Washington said.

Darlington County Sheriff James Hudson and Washington said they’ve seen too many young people getting caught up in gang violence.

They’re urging parents to pay attention to who their children are hanging out with and what they’re doing.

Hudson said the community coming together is an important step in turning things around.

“Keep in mind we didn’t get this way overnight and it’s not going to be cured overnight, but together we can make a difference,” Hudson said.

People had the opportunity to ask Hudson and Washington questions, but most of the audience took time to share ways they could help law enforcement.

Charleen Gardner McClain said as a parent it’s their responsibility to teach their kids right from wrong.

She hopes to see more parents at future forums, so they can help make Darlington County a better place.

“The next time this comes out, the next time an email is sent, this gym should be packed, it should be standing room only,” McClain said.

The next community forum is expected to take place within the next six to eight weeks.

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