Another weekend, another shooting incident in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – the city at the heart of a tourism economy that is desperately struggling to rebound from the industry shutdowns that accompanied the coronavirus pandemic.
A week after a gang-related shooting rocked downtown Myrtle Beach (nearly killing a ten-month-old girl), more shots rang out in the early morning hours on Sunday …
According to a news release from the Myrtle Beach police department, the latest shooting took place at around 12:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday morning near 12th Avenue north and Ocean Boulevard. That’s roughly a block away from the location of the last shooting.
“Officers were called to the area for reports of gunshots,” the police statement noted. “Responding officers located several persons with injuries who are receiving treatment at this time.”
Police have not said how many people were wounded – or provided an updated as to the conditions of those wounded. Nor have they discussed a possible motive for the shooting, or released any information as to the six suspects detained in connection with the latest violent incident.
According to the release, the investigation “is active and we ask that anyone with information, photos or video come forward.”
The number the police department provided for those with tips is 843-918-1382. The report number to reference in connection with those tips is 20-007160.
Myrtle Beach mayor Brenda Bethune blamed the latest shooting incident on “the wrong type of visitors” and “a few miscreants” who according to her have “no value for society.”
“Their violent behavior has left our residents, our businesses and our visitors fearful and angry,” Bethune added, saying the perpetrators of the latest violence had “tarnished our family friendly atmosphere.”
Bethune concluded her statement by vowing to “end this unlawful behavior.”
As we noted after the previous shooting, however, “we have heard those promises before.”
Just last week, as a matter of fact …
As far as we can tell, the violence is only getting worse with each passing year. According to reporter of Ryan Webb of WBTW TV 13 (CBS – Florence/ Myrtle Beach, S.C.), one of the witnesses to the shooting said it took place despite an elevated police presence in the area in the aftermath of the previous shooting.
“I really feel like they don’t have control over this,” Mike Klein told the station, adding that he and his friend were not planning to return to Myrtle Beach anytime soon.
The last shooting was attributed to an ongoing dispute between “rival gang members” from nearby Chesterfield county, South Carolina.
These gang members reportedly had an “issue in their home community … (and) traveled to Myrtle Beach,” where they “continued their conflict with their reckless acts in our community,” according to police.
One of the bullets from that shootout lodged just two inches away from a carseat carrying a ten-month old girl …
(Click to view)
As we noted in our coverage of the last shooting, the next four months are going to be absolutely critical for Myrtle Beach, the Grand Strand and the broader Palmetto State tourism economy. Having been decimated by the impact of the coronavirus lockdowns, businesses that survived the initial storm are now desperate to make up some of the $2.4 billion (and counting) they have lost since the beginning of March.
The last thing they needed was a pair of shootings to start off the traditional summer vacation season …
Local officials have tried – and failed – to stem the violence in the past, including imposing overarching restrictions on private businesses. For example, the “Boulevard Ban” – which we opposed – restricted the sale of certain items within a 22-block stretch of the city’s downtown tourist hub in the name of cracking down on drug abuse and the sale of sexually explicit material.
It did not, however, crack down on vices that made Bethune money.
Both of the recent shootings took place within this 22-block hub, incidentally.
Bethune cited public safety as one of her reasons for imposing the “Boulevard Ban,” but her efforts to curtail capitalism have clearly not done a thing to deter the criminal element from having its way on the increasingly mean streets of Myrtle Beach.
Astoundingly, Myrtle Beach police chief Amy Prock had the audacity to cast some of the blame for the previous shooting on … local businesses. According to Prock, hospitality industry officials failed to provide her department with accurate information on the number of visitors expected in the city that weekend.
“The information we originally received was inaccurate at best,” Prock said. “It was extremely disappointing to me and my staff that the communication between our business community was lacking with our department. I can’t emphasize this enough – this is key to how our community operates effectively.”
Really? Last time we checked, Prock had zero room to talk about effective operations …
Having endorsed Bethune for mayor years ago, it gives us no pleasure to say this … but the leadership of Myrtle Beach is once again proving itself incapable of addressing a growing public safety threat, one that is rearing its head at the worst possible time for this industry.
Bethune and Prock are, quite simply, both out of their depth in attempting to respond to that threat …
UPDATE || Less than 24 hours after this incident, another shooting … this one fatal.
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