Man wounded in Memorial Day weekend shootings arrested on weapons charge

troot@thesunnews.comAugust 21, 2014 

Keith Williams

A Lincolnville man who was shot and wounded when three other people were killed in a Memorial Day weekend shooting at Myrtle Beach motel is facing charges he had a stolen pistol in the city that weekend, according to authorities.

Keith Alextrus Williams, 24, was charged Thursday with weapons/sale or delivery of pistol, according to Myrtle Beach Jail records.

Williams was injured during the May 24 shooting at Bermuda Sands Resort on Ocean Boulevard. Jamie Williams, 28, of Ladson, and Devonte Dantzler, 21, and Sandy Gaddis Barnwell, 22, both of Summerville, were killed in the shooting that stemmed from a large fight, police said.

Williams was hospitalized for several days following the shooting.

“It was found out through our investigation that he had brought a gun to Myrtle Beach during this timeframe,” Myrtle Beach police Capt. David Knipes said. “This gun was not used in the shooting in any form or fashion. He was a person who came to Myrtle Beach with a gun and he was the victim of a crime. The gun was located and found to be stolen.”

No arrests have been made in the shootings and Myrtle Beach police on Wednesday traveled to Summerville to ask for help in solving the crime.

A $1,000 reward is being offered by Low Country Crime Stoppers for a tip that leads to the arrest and indictment of a suspect or suspects. Police also released a slowed down version of a video recording taken during a fight leading to the shooting that they say may show the shooter.

Police have said the shootings resulted from a large fight and afterward said they thought they could have been gang-related. But on Wednesday, Myrtle Beach Detective Will Kitelinger said he had no information “that the cause of the homicides was related to any gang stuff whatsoever.”

According to a Myrtle Beach police press release, officers responded at about 11 p.m. May 24 for a reported large fight on Ocean Boulevard. Three shots were fired before police arrived, striking Keith Williams. As police were providing medical attention to Keith Williams, those involved in the fight moved to the second floor of Bermuda Sands, according to the release.

After about five minutes, officers said the shooter then went to the second floor of the hotel and fired several shots at Jamie Williams, Dantzler and Barnwell, who police say were involved in the fight.

Police believe the shooter fled out of the back of the hotel.

The Memorial Day weekend shootings have prompted Grand Strand officials to form task forces to improve safety during the holiday weekend next year. The weekend is busy with several hundred thousand people who come to the area for the annual Atlantic Beach Bikefest and other beach activities in the area.

Last month, Gov. Nikki Haley visited Atlantic Beach and urged the town council to end the biker festival. In return, she said, the state would work with the town to transform it into a family-friendly destination that tourists from across the nation will visit.

Atlantic Beach Mayor Jake Evans has repeatedly said the town has no plans to end the Bikefest.

State lawmakers approved a budget measure that will allow Grand Strand governments to use up to $5 million in accommodations tax money to pay for additional law enforcement during May events; Myrtle Beach officials have held several closed meetings to discuss safety and security changes for next year’s Memorial Day weekend; and Myrtle Beach police will hold a summit in September for law enforcement officers from across the country to share best practices for handling large special events.

If you have information about the shootings you can call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

Maya Prabhu also contributed to this story.

Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or on Twitter @TSN_mprabhu. Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or on Twitter @tonyaroot.

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