While Myrtle Beach police are dealing with a mass shooting over the weekend and other reports of area violence, they also are still working to identify a suspect in the Saturday afternoon shooting at the Coastal Grand Mall parking lot.
One victim was taken to an area hospital after the 4:30 p.m. incident and does not have life-threatening injuries, according to police.
Investigators have determined that a second shooting at 4:40 p.m. at the Crown Reef Motel was not related to the mall incident, said Lt. Joey Crosby, spokesman for the Myrtle Beach police.
Police responded to at least four shooting incidents this weekend, including a mass shooting on Ocean Boulevard where seven people, including the shooter, were injured, and a shooting at the Dunes Village Sunday night.
This was the second shooting to occur this year in the parking lot of the popular mall. The weekend shooting occurred near the movie theater entrance, while a shooting in January took place near Dillard’s in the parking lot.
The January shooting also occurred at 4:30 p.m. but on a weekday. A witness told police he saw two men fire several shots at a vehicle and then drive away. No victims came forward, but police found more than a half-dozen .380 caliber shell casings near the southeast entrance of the mall.
Stacey Keating, a spokeswoman for the mall, was asked whether security had been increased as a result of the incident.
“We take the concerns of our customers very seriously and we evaluate our security protocols on an ongoing basis, making adjustments as necessary,” Keating said in an emailed statement.
“After reviewing the incident, it was determined that we would not close the mall or go into lock down. We shared information with our tenants as quickly as possible, after confirming details with local authorities,” Keating said.
Security guards at the mall are not armed, but rely on Myrtle Beach police to respond quickly to major crimes. Keating did not answer why their guards do not carry weapons.
It was an armed private security guard who shot the suspect in the mass shooting just after midnight Saturday in the downtown area, as the shooter fired numerous rounds that hit six victims, including one that grazed the security guard’s leg.
Lt. Crosby said that Myrtle Beach police are continuing to work with officials to enhance security at the mall.
Jessica Hall works at a shop just inside the mall entrance near the theater, where the weekend shooting occurred.
She says she feels safe inside the mall, but not in the parking lot when she leaves after work.
“I don’t feel unsafe, because this was certain people who were targeting certain people,” Hall said of the weekend shooting.
However, she is concerned that mall officials did not immediately let store employees know about the Saturday shooting. Hall said she first got a call from another branch of their store at Broadway at the Beach about the shooting and were not informed by mall officials until 30 minutes after that.
“I would personally like to know if something is going on,” Hall said.