Little River man faces manslaughter charge in North Myrtle Beach shooting

Zachary Paul Owens
Zachary Paul Owens

A Little River man has been charged with voluntary manslaughter after police say he admitted to shooting a man he claimed was attacking him near a North Myrtle Beach restaurant.

Zachary Paul Owens, 25, was arrested Saturday after 26-year-old Ryan Burt of Lexington - the apparent victim of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest - was pronounced dead at 1:05 a.m. at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center.

North Myrtle Beach police were called to 2306 N. Ocean Boulevard, near Sea Mountain Highway, in reference to an assault late Friday evening. A responding officer found Burt lying in a dirt parking lot next to the business. He was encircled by a group of people and the officer noted Burt appeared to have been shot multiple times in the chest.

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.

He told police the victim began yelling at him from across the parking lot while he stood beside his car smoking a cigarette. Owens said the victim approached him in an aggressive manner so he reached into his vehicle’s glove box and pulled out his gun, but the victim began hitting him in the face with a closed fist, according to Owens testimony to police.

Owens said he gave repeated commands for the victim to stop or he would shoot, but the victim continued to strike him so, fearing for his safety, he shot Burt multiple times, according to the police.

Owens is being held at the North Myrtle Beach Detention Center in lieu of a $15,000 bond.

Emily Weaver: 843-444-1722, @TSNEmily

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