A Little River man told authorities he shot a man, who was allegedly attacking him near a North Myrtle Beach restaurant, in self defense.
Zachary Paul Owens, 25, of Little River is jailed, but not charged as of Saturday afternoon, after Ryan Burt, 26, of Lexington died at 1:05 a.m. at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center after he was shot during an incident that happened at 2306 N. Ocean Blvd. near Sea Mountain Highway in North Myrtle Beach, according to Darris Fowler, Horry County deputy coroner.
North Myrtle Beach police were called about the incident in reference to an assault, Pat Dowling, North Myrtle Beach city spokesman said.
An arriving officer noticed a group of people gathering in a dirt parking lot adjacent to the business at 2306 N. Ocean Blvd. around Burt, who was lying on the ground, officials said.
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As the officer neared the victim, he noticed Burt had suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the chest area.
The officer immediately called for EMS and tried to administer care to the victim, while controlling the crowd and scanning the area for potential suspects.
Backup officers came to the scene, along with EMS workers, who took the victim to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center where he later died.
Following the shooting, Owens contacted the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety. He said he saw a fight take place inside the restaurant next to the parking lot, police said.
Owens said he closed his tab at the restaurant after seeing the fight and went to his car in the parking lot and planned to go home.
The victim began yelling at Owens from across the parking lot while Owens was beside his car smoking a cigarette.
The victim continued to approach him in an aggressive manner, but Owens said he wasn’t sure why. Owens then reached into his glove box and pulled out his gun, authorities said.
The victim came up to him and began hitting him in the face with a closed fist, Owens said.
Owens gave repeated commands for the victim to stop or he would shoot, he told police.
The victim continued to strike him, and fearing for his safety, he shot the victim multiple times, according to authorities.
Owens is being jailed at the North Myrtle Beach Detention Center and charges against him are pending. A follow up investigation will be conducted by the detectives, officials said.