Crime & Courts

Crime Wave Grips Walterboro

Front porch of the Lowcountry under siege …

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A wave of violent crime has gripped the ‘Front Porch of the Lowcountry’ over the last few days, prompting rising concern over an intensifying gang battle in and around the city of Walterboro, South Carolina.

Walterboro hosted the Palmetto State’s ‘Trial of the Century’ last year, putting its best foot forward as international media descended on the city for the courtroom saga of convicted killer/ disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh.

The city shone during the trial, presenting itself to the world as a quaint, welcoming southern locale full of friendly faces and fattening foods. In the intervening months, however, Walterboro has descended into lawlessness as rival gangs – including one linked to Murdaugh – have embarked on an orgy of violence in the hopes of settling scores and silencing snitches.

Meanwhile, a growing number of victims have found themselves caught in the crossfire …

This past weekend, the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) issued a news release related to three shooting incidents that took place on Saturday and Sunday (June 1-2, 2024) in and around Walterboro. Multiple additional reports of shots being fired in the Walterboro area were reported over the same time period – from Saturday evening into Sunday morning – but no information was immediately available related to those incidents. Police are reportedly searching for a dark grey Dodge Charger in connection with at least one of these shootings, although this information was not referenced in one of several updated news releases sent from the sheriff’s office on Monday (June 3, 2024).

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In the first news release, CCSO confirmed an eight-year-old juvenile who was a passenger in a motor vehicle remains hospitalized in intensive care after being shot through the head at approximately 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday evening.

“Initial investigation shows the suspect vehicle may have been parked near the Christmas Tree Farm on Burlington Road while waiting on the victim’s car,” the agency noted. “Detectives located evidence that a vehicle may have been stopped on the grassy shoulder for a certain period of time.”

According to CCSO detective Laura Rutland, her agency is asking anyone who may have seen a vehicle parked on the shoulder at this location between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. EDT on the evening of June 1, 2024 to contact the sheriff’s office.

“Our investigation has determined this was not a random act of violence but a targeted act on a specific vehicle,” Rutland noted in the release.

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Laura Rutland, CCSO crime scene investigator, answers questions from the prosecution during Alex Murdaugh’s trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Friday, January 27, 2023. Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool

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Fifteen minutes after this “targeted act,” another “targeted act” took place near a home on the 2800 block of Ritter Road near Hendersonville Highway south of Walterboro.

“Video footage from a nearby residence was reviewed and showed four individuals exiting an unknown vehicle and firing several weapons at a residence,” a release linked to this shooting noted. “Due to the video’s low quality, the suspects and the vehicle are not identifiable.”

“As of today, there are no reported victims of (the) shooting,” the release added, although it did note more than 100 spent shell casings were found at the scene of the shooting.

“This was a targeted attack on a specific residence,” Rutland noted.

A little more than five hours after this shooting, CCSO deputies were notified of yet another shooting that took place at Chase Lounge on Rivers Street – less than a mile southeast of the historic Colleton County courthouse. One adult victim reportedly sustained eight gunshot wounds during this incident, which took place in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 2, 2024.

“No calls were received regarding the incident until the victim was dropped off at Colleton medical center,” the sheriff’s news release for this shooting noted. “As of now, the victim is uncooperative (however) detectives are working to located the individuals involved and have interviewed a potential witness to the dispute.”

Unlike the other two shootings, CCSO’s release indicated the Chase Lounge incident appeared “to be a disturbance between adults that escalated.”

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RELATED | VICTIMS IDENTIFIED IN TARGETED TRIPLE HOMICIDE

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The spasm of fresh violence enveloping Walterboro comes two weeks after yet another “targeted” shooting in the city left three people dead – including a two-year-old girl. CCSO updated the public on its investigation into that shooting on Monday, indicating they had “located and impounded a vehicle involved in the murders” and had “identified one of the occupants of the suspect vehicle.”

“An extensive search for video surveillance around the area of the murders has been underway and detectives are currently sifting through a large amount of footage,” a statement from Rutland noted. “Additional forensic evidence is being analyzed and detectives are confident that the other suspects involved in the murders will be identified.”

The statement added that “community assistance has been instrumental in what has been developed in this case thus far,” and encouraged residents with any information to contact CCSO at 843-549-2211 or via the agency’s tip line.

Meanwhile, Walterboro police are continuing to investigate a decomposing body that was discovered less than two months ago stuffed inside a suitcase in an abandoned building just a few hundred yards south of the county courthouse. Sources familiar with that investigation say the victim – 32-year-old Victoria Jean Beach – may have been killed for providing information on gang activity to law enforcement.

As for the CCSO investigations, a source close to them said the root cause of the violence was no secret.

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"This is all gang-related," the source said.

According to the source, the powerful Cowboys gang has been fighting in recent weeks with at least one of its rival criminal outfits.

Those following the Murdaugh saga will recall the Cowboys made news in the fall of 2021. The gang subsequently reappeared in the summer of 2022 when prosecutors in the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson accused two of its alleged members of being “downstream beneficiaries” of Alex Murdaugh’s theft from his clients, friends, and former law partners. Murdaugh’s larger drug connections have yet to be fully unearthed. Same goes for his rumored missing millions.

Last year, one of Cowboys' leaders was shot and killed after opening fire on a Charleston County sheriff's deputy. Earlier this year, a handful of Cowboys were indicted federally for their role in a drug ring. According to U.S. attorney Adair Ford Boroughs, those arrests were purportedly part of a "violent crime reduction initiative in Walterboro and surrounding areas."

So far, the initiative isn't working ...

Count on this media outlet to keep our audience updated in the event there are developments tied to any of these investigations.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR ...

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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9 comments

White American Mafia June 3, 2024 at 4:59 pm

Crime wave?

Did the Trumps and the RNC relocate to Walterboro?

Reply
Hide Your Pets June 4, 2024 at 10:17 am

The only people who would hire Kristi Noem as dog catcher.

Reply
B B BROCKMAN Top fan June 11, 2024 at 3:12 pm

White AM you have to be a complete idiot, you should have your voting certificate revoked!

Reply
JustSomeGuy Top fan June 3, 2024 at 5:08 pm

It’s not really a heavily populated area. The per capita gang participation rate in Walterboro must be crazy high.

Reply
Brandon June 3, 2024 at 7:06 pm

Not related to the blog post, but why does a MAGA blog have an ad for a dude in a dress running for Congress or whatever?

This blog isn’t going woke now, is it?

Reply
Keep Clicking! June 4, 2024 at 10:19 am

Will doesn’t see black or white (unless you’re Tim Scott or Mayor Benjamin I guess), the only color that matters to him is green.

Reply
River Top fan June 4, 2024 at 7:09 am

Praying for the safety of law enforcement while they locate and apprehend all responsible.

Reply
Fill Wolks June 4, 2024 at 2:59 pm

FEAR News

Reply
B B BROCKMAN Top fan June 11, 2024 at 3:12 pm

White AM you have to be a complete idiot, you should have your voting certificate revoked!

Reply

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