HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) – Law enforcement agencies across the News13 viewing area are reporting an increasing number of shooting investigations.
There have been 29 shootings so far this month, according to News13’s interactive shootings map.
That figure is up from July (23) and August (25), but still lower than a 2021 high of 43 shootings in June.
Of the 279 shootings so far this year, two were deadly shootings in Loris.
“It sounds like a low number, but it’s actually pretty high for our jurisdiction,” Loris Police Chief Gary Buley said. “We don’t normally get but maybe one every two or three years. To have two in the same year is pretty high for us, and it was the same location.”
In response to those deadly shootings, Buley said Loris police ramped up patrols in the area, which is close to a park. Recently, Loris City Council also approved the installation of surveillance cameras there.
“The last thing we want, especially in that area where the park is and kids are playing, the last thing we want is for a kid to get hurt,” Buley said.
Florence County law enforcement also report a rising number of shooting investigations.
“It’s very disturbing and it’s alarming,” Major Mike Nunn with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office said.
Nunn said most shootings in the department’s jurisdiction are crimes of opportunity by repeat offenders.
“We try to do our part and the rest is up to the remainder of the judicial system,” he said.
Most of the suspects in Florence County shooting cases know each other, according to Nunn.
“They are all fairly well related to drug and gang activity,” he said. “Most of the time the suspect and the victim, if they don’t know each other, they certainly are familiar with each other and maybe travel in the same circle.”
Both Buley and Nunn said the key to solving most investigations is the community.
“The community is our eyes and ears,” Nunn said. “We need community members and residents and citizens to speak up when they see something like this and to cooperate with law enforcement.”
Buley said community engagement is one of the biggest challenges in his jurisdiction.
“Fear is a challenge, retaliation, and things like that; no one wants to speak,” he said.
Something the Loris Police Department started using recently to help get tips during large-scale investigations is evidence.com, which allows people to anonymously submit evidence to police. Buley said it’s been a success so far and the department used it during its two deadly shooting investigations this year. Witnesses can send their own pictures, videos and statements anonymously through the portal.
News13 is tracking shootings across the viewing area for 2021. Deadly shootings are marked in red. Some shootings are so close in proximity that they appear as one mark. Zoom in for the most-detailed look.