Crime

‘Guns down, peace signs up’: Anguished neighbors cry out after killing of pregnant woman

Vigil for Jadasia Myers and Unborn Child

Community leaders and anti-violence activist rallied a crowd to "put the guns down, put peace signs up" in a vigil Wednesday night in Futrell Park where a pregnant woman and innocent bystander was killed by gunfire Sunday night. The woman, 22-year
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Community leaders and anti-violence activist rallied a crowd to "put the guns down, put peace signs up" in a vigil Wednesday night in Futrell Park where a pregnant woman and innocent bystander was killed by gunfire Sunday night. The woman, 22-year

Jadasia “Dasia” Myers was five months pregnant when gunfire erupted near Futrell Park Sunday night. Her boyfriend had just been in a fight and they were running towards a car when a bullet pierced her neck.

Myers was rushed to the hospital, where emergency efforts to save her life were growing futile. Doctors turned their efforts to her unborn daughter.

Like most expectant mothers, Myers was prepared for her newborn baby girl. She had baby clothes, bottles and a name — Harmony. But no one expected this.

Harmony didn’t make it. Myers died, too. She was 22 years old.

Myers “was very happy, a lot of love in that young lady,” said Angela Blair, Myers’ step grandmother. “She was just a precious, precious girl and just so full of life and full of hope for a bright future that was cut out.”

“They killed my girl and my unborn baby —I'll never get over this,” 22-year-old Ajay Malikk Alston, who raps under the name of Ace Xartel, posted on Facebook.

Myrtle Beach police say Alston was driving the car with Myers in the back seat as they tried to escape the hail of bullets. The car was found crashed into a light pole at the park when officers arrived on scene.

Alston was arrested two days later and charged with attempted murder and possessing a stolen handgun in a violent crime.

Twenty-one-year-old Jordan Lee Pyatt, who used to rap with Alston, has been accused of Myers’ murder. He faces two homicide counts, including one for baby Harmony, two attempted murder charges and possessing a stolen gun in a violent crime.

A third man, 26-year-old Wallace Grant Jr., is facing an obstruction charge after police say he refused to cooperate and lied to them in their investigation.

This wasn’t the first time police have been called to the troubled Booker T. Washington neighborhood.

So far this year, Myrtle Beach police have responded to 119 incidents, including at least one other shooting, and have made 65 arrests in the neighborhood.

On Spivey Avenue alone — where Sunday night’s shooting occurred — police have responded to 51 incidents in 2017. On Dunbar Street, two blocks away from where Myers was killed, police have responded to 59 incidents.

Police won’t say exactly what led to the gunfire Sunday night.

“In that it is an active investigation and additional arrests are possible, the release of the motive could be detrimental to the investigation,” said Capt. Joey Crosby of the Myrtle Beach Police Department. “Upon the conclusion on the investigation, the motive will be released.”

A vigil for Myers and baby Harmony was held at Futrell Park Wednesday evening.

‘Put the peace sign up.’

“Put the guns down! Put the peace sign up!” Rev. Tim McCray shouted at the rally. The shout became a chant among the crowd as peace signs lifted up.

“It never seems to bother other people until it happens in their community,” Rev. Wesley Finkley said at the rally. “There have been shootings in the Booker T. Washington community for 30 years, but the governor come running down here when it happened on the boulevard.”

A mass shooting near 4th Avenue North on Ocean Boulevard was captured on a Facebook Live video that went viral over Father’s Day weekend. It was one of five shootings to rock the city over a three-day span in June.

Like the rest of the city and Horry County, the Booker T. Washington community hasn’t been alone in its struggle against gun violence.

“Where were you at 20 years ago when somebody shot Robert Sessions and threw him out on a field?” Finkley asked in his address before the crowd at Futrell Park. “There have been shootings in the African American community for years! It only affects you when it’s in the economic engine called the boulevard. The government has to put its shoes on and come on down to Myrtle Beach. Each and every one of us should be our brother’s keeper.”

Finkley challenged everyone - of all races, economic status and religious backgrounds to come together.

“Myrtle Beach is not alone. It should be the epitome of all of us, not just a select few. From the poorest to the richest, should be included in the plan for Myrtle Beach,” he said. “This is not just a police problem, it’s a community problem.”

Bennie Swans, who also spoke at the vigil, said the next steps to end gun violence “become the critical part” and a three-pronged approach to prevent, intervene and suppress the violence is now taking center stage.

“Unfortunately it was predictable that an innocent person would be shot down and it would cause us to come together,” he said. “But who would have expected a dual homicide with a mother and her baby?”

The crowd broke out in song as candles were lit to remember the “light that was taken from us” in the deaths of Myers and her unborn child.

“She was the kind of girl that she would give of herself and try to make others happy,” Blair said of Myers. “I know she was the light of my daughter’s life at a time when she really needed her.”

Myers left behind a 6-year-old daughter, Shameria, in addition to a host of family and friends, now grieving her death.

“I just had to tell her 6-year-old daughter that she’ll never talk to her mother again,” said Myers’ uncle at a bond hearing Wednesday morning, his voice cracking. “She told me I was lying. I broke down, and I told her I would never leave her side.”

A funeral is set to be held for Myers on Saturday.

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