A 17-year-old North Carolina boy accused of opening fire into a crowd after a fight outside the Wayfarer Motel on Ocean Boulevard early Sunday morning had been “involved in gang activity,” acting Myrtle Beach police Chief Amy Prock told city leaders Tuesday afternoon.
He also knew his immediate victim, she said. Seven people were injured in the shooting, including the shooter, whose name has not been released, but police did say the teen was known by authorities in North Carolina.
“The suspect, in fact, was involved in gang activity,” Prock said. “The incident stems from another conflict that originated in North Carolina where (the shooter and his first victim) … are from and as you know, guns were involved. They didn’t go to hands. They didn’t go to fists. They didn’t talk about it. They pulled a gun.”
Prock shared new details Tuesday on the shootings that left nine people injured over three days at a specially called meeting for city leaders to address the recent rash of violence and ways to end it.
While officers were searching for an armed suspect from an earlier call at 16th Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard, police noticed a “disturbance” at Fifth Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard on city surveillance cameras at 12:20 a.m. Sunday, Prock said.
Officers started heading in that direction.
The “disturbance” involved a large crowd of people moving southbound on the sidewalk and, at times, spilling out into the street, stalling traffic.
As a cruiser with flashing blue lights approached, a fight broke out in the crowd at Fourth Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard. A man attacked in the scuffle, identified only now as a 17-year-old man from North Carolina, pulled a gun from his pants and opened fire into the crowd.
The shooting was captured on a Facebook Live video that went viral. In the video, a patrol car can be seen arriving seconds after the first shot rang out. The arriving officer then sped away.
Prock said that’s because the officer felt “ambushed” when his cruiser was struck by three flying bullets.
“That’s why you see him leave the area. This is a tactical response,” Prock told the council. After finding cover, the officer returned to assist at the scene, she said.
The video showed the shooter carjacking a white vehicle and fleeing the area.
At 12:26 a.m., officers start identifying victims and securing the crime scene, Prock said.
“Calls for service are immediately coming in right after that … (from) the Palace Resort where a subject was observed with blood about his body and a (white) vehicle blocking the parking deck,” Prock said.
The shooter and the stolen vehicle were detained at that location three minutes after the shooting had started at 12:25 a.m., she said.
The gunman, who was injured when a security guard fired at him during the shooting, was transported to the hospital.
City surveillance cameras and witnesses at the scene helped police locate the gun the suspect discarded in his escape from the boulevard, according to Prock.
Police are waiting for the shooter to be released from the hospital and formerly served with warrants before releasing his name.
Most of the victims in the mass shooting appear to be teens.
Not listing their names or specific hometowns, Prock gave an update on the victims. An 18-year-old North Carolina man, who was involved in the fight with the suspect, is still in the hospital, she said.
An 18-year-old woman, also from North Carolina, has been released from the hospital, Prock said.
Other victims include a 17-year-old girl from Ohio and a male juvenile and 18-year-old female, both from North Carolina. Updates on their conditions were not released during the meeting.
The local security guard, who fired at the suspect, was treated and released on scene for a graze wound to his leg, according to police.
Prock says they plan to charge the 17-year-old shooter with seven counts of attempted murder.
Police were called to five other shootings throughout the city between Saturday and Monday.
One person was injured in a shooting in the parking lot near the Cinemark at the Coastal Grand Mall at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The victim was reported to have suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
“The shooting at Coastal Grand (Mall) is definitely believed to be a drug deal gone bad,” Prock said.
Darrell Gore, 18, of Myrtle Beach, “has been arrested and charged with one count of armed robbery and one count of attempted murder. He is in our jail,” she said.
Khadafi Aziz Dennison, 18, of Myrtle Beach and also in custody, has been charged with one count of armed robbery and one count of attempted murder.
Police reported another shooting took place at the Lazy G Motel Monday night, leaving one injured person who refused to cooperate with the police’s investigation, said Lt. Joey Crosby of the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
The victim also refused medical treatment, he said.
Ten minutes after the mall shooting on Saturday, police were called to the Crown Reef Resort for a report of shots fired.
Prock says they have identified the suspects from that shooting “and warrants are currently pending.” She declined to share their names, saying the suspects have not been located.
Officers were also called to the Dunes Village Resort at 5200 N. Ocean Blvd. at 9:05 p.m. Sunday for a report of gunshots, but police say they found no one injured and no witnesses willing to talk.
“Based on the limited information collected at the scene, officers believe this incident began as a verbal altercation and then shots were fired,” said Lt. Joey Crosby of the Myrtle Beach Police Department. “It is unknown if the shots were fired at someone or in the air.”