LAKE CITY, SC (WBTW) – City leaders are looking towards their community to try and put an end to gang violence.
There have been two deadly shootings in Lake City in barely more than a week. As police ask for outside help to investigate and find the people responsible, Mayor Lovith Anderson Jr. says more needs to change to stop this violence.
The mayor, along with police Chief Kipp Coker, spoke at a press conference to address the recent violence Friday afternoon.
“I grew up in this community and this has been my hometown,” the mayor said. “My expectation for Lake City is for us, as a community, to come together and help us solve the problem that we’re having.”
The U.S. Marshals Service, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Florence County Sheriff’s Office are working with city police on the cases.
“To my knowledge, we have over 300 gang members within the city limits of Lake City and we’re coming after them,” said Chief Kipp Coker.
25-year-old Akii McFadden was killed in the first shooting on Independence Avenue at around 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve. McFadden was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Nine days later at around 3 p.m. Thursday, a man was shot while in a vehicle at the intersection of Deep River and Moore streets. He was taken to the hospital and released later in the day.
Jacory Davis, 20, Lake City, faces two attempted murder charges, as well as use of a weapon during a violent crime. Chief Coker says Davis could face more charges.
Three hours after that shooting and a few blocks away, 21-year-old Antwan McKnight was shot and killed in a vehicle at the corner of Lassie and Rae streets. It’s unclear if the two Thursday shootings are connected.
No arrests have been made yet in either deadly shooting. Chief Coker says the shootings appear to be instances of gang-on-gang violence.
A midnight curfew is now in effect for anyone under 18. Lake City PD says “if a juvenile is out past midnight without a good reason, the juvenile and parents will be held accountable.”
Leaders say it will take everyone in the city to help stop gang violence, which has been happening for several years.
“We’ve held countless community meetings and prayer vigils,” said city administrator Stephany Snowden. “We’re working with the school system for mentoring programs, so I know that people feel helpless, but we need them to really get involved.”
Mayor Anderson says he wants the community to teach life lessons to teens, so they can avoid crime or death.
“We want to work towards establishing more programs and things that we can help the youth that have all this free time, put them in a structured environment,” he said.
Chief Coker says information about any of these cases is extremely important. Lake City PD has set up a phone number for anonymous tips.
You can call 843-374-7226.