Update: Father, son killed in Waccamaw Bingo shooting, robbery, family says

A father and son were shot and killed at an Horry County bingo parlor Friday night, their family told The Sun News.

“I just don’t know why anyone would kill them,” said Glenda Johnson. Her husband, Steve, and her son, Sparky, were the two that were killed, she said. “They have turned our world upside down.”

Johnson stood outside of the Waccamaw Bingo off U.S. Highway 501 an hour after the 10 p.m. shooting, crying as she watched the scene unfold. She kept saying “I gotta get inside” as friends and family comforted her outside the parlor.

The Johnson family has owned the parlor for about 30 years.

Horry County police confirmed that two people were killed Friday night but haven’t officially released their identities. HCPD initially posted on social media it responded to an attempted armed robbery and shooting incident near Myrtle Beach.

A “code red” was issued for the Tuscany neighborhood down the street from the bingo parlor on Belle Terre Boulevard. Police asked that community to shelter in place just before midnight.

A heavy police and fire presence remained in the area after the shooting and cars lined the road leading to Waccamaw Bingo. Those at the bingo parlor when the shooting happened were being kept inside by police and their loved ones were told to remain outside.

A man wearing a blue shirt was taken away from the scene in handcuffs, but police said later they’re still looking for the suspect.

“You took my son and husband. Why did you do that?” Johnson yelled as the man was being led away by police.

Nina Matthews and Heather York were two of the estimated 80 people inside Waccamaw Bingo when the shooting started. They said the suspect came in through a side door wearing what appeared to be a white T-shirt tied like a bandanna covering his face. He demanded money from the counter.

“Then I heard ‘he’s got a gun,’” York said.

The two estimated several shots were fired from a handgun. They ran through the same side door for safety and waited by their cars for a moment before returning to check on the injured.

York said a man tried to tackle the suspect while he was inside but he escaped.

York said she tried to help one of the victims by applying pressure to his wound.

“It happened so fast,” Matthews said.

Glenda Johnson described her husband and son as two of the finest men people could have known, saying Sparky and Steve would give the shirts off their backs to anyone.

“55 years we’ve been married,” Glenda Johnson said of her husband, “and someone took that away.”

As of early Saturday, police continued their efforts to find the suspect and released photos of the person. The suspect is a black man who wore all gray clothing. Anyone with information is asked to contact (843) 248-1520.

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Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.