Over five hours passed between the first 911 calls and when police discovered 42-year-old Mark Allen Verhasselt laying near a car, dead from a gunshot wound. A Myrtle Beach spokesperson attributes the delay to confusion on which jurisdiction the case belonged to.
A press release from Myrtle Beach Public Information Officer Mark Kruea says both the Myrtle Beach Police Department and the Horry County Police Department received calls about shots fired early on July 10.
“A resident in the area along Wild Iris Drive originally called the non-emergency line for the Horry County Police Department shortly after midnight. Her call was transferred through an automatic menu to Horry County non-emergency dispatch, where she reported that she had heard shots fired near Myrtlewood Villas. The county call-taker advised that the location was in the City of Myrtle Beach and offered to provide the number for the Myrtle Beach Police Department.”
The release also says a second person called three minutes later to report shots filed on Wild Iris Drive and people running toward Magnolia Place. Myrtle Beach officers were on the scene at this time and investigated the area along Wild Iris Drive from 48th Ave. North to 38th Ave. North. This caller was confirmed to be the female caller who originally called the non-emergency number for the Horry County Police Department.
According to the release, Myrtle Beach officers were on the scene for 16 minutes. They spoke with several people, but did not find evidence of a shooting or a witness. The location of the shooting and victim were found in a parking lot at Magnolia Pointe around 6 a.m.
Kruea says knowing which jurisdiction you live in can save first responders and victims time. “Had an accurate address or witness been available, the shooting location and victim would have been discovered more quickly.”
“Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock and Horry County Police Chief Joe Hill have been in contact about this incident,” the release says. “Chiefs Hill and Prock continue to collaborate on providing a coordinated response to areas that are considered border locations, as well as those unincorporated areas which are completely surrounded by the city.”
The Horry County Police Department has charged 29-year-old Matthew Rivera, also of Fayetteville, with murder in connection with the shooting.
Kruea also provided the audio files for three calls related to this incident. Click the links below to listen.