SOCASTEE S.C. (WBTW) — A Socastee bar facing the possible loss of its state alcohol licenses following a deadly shooting last month will close at the end of business on Wednesday, its owners said in Facebook post.
Barfield’s Bar and Grille, located at 4763 Frontage Road near Highway 17 Bypass, moved to the location in August 2022 from a site near on Highway 544 near Big Block Road.
“After four years of charity events, birthday parties, baby showers, Christmas parties, and countless smiles and friendships, it saddens us to say that Wednesday is the last time Barfield’s bar and grille will be open to serve Socastee,” owner Rachael Barfield said in the post.
The South Carolina Department of Revenue notified the owners in an Oct. 25 letter of its intent to revoke the bar’s licenses. According to the letter, Barfield’s had 30 days from the date of the letter to request a hearing with the South Carolina Administrative Law Court.
Rachael Barfield said the decision to close and not seek a hearing was a difficult one.
“It is literally a money issue,” she said. “I’ve met with multiple attorneys and they are all worried to go up against the state and county knowing it would be a lot of work so it would be extremely expensive. Me settling gave us the opportunity to not have a revocation on our name so we can still open another business one day. If they set a hearing date and I didn’t have an attorney they would have revoked our licenses putting that black mark on our name. Because it was expedited, I ultimately had to make a decision within 14 days and this was the best one for our family.”
The decision to close follows the Oct. 18 shooting that killed Starquan Washington, 23, of Longs, and wounded another person. Horry County police arrested Kvon Tyrese Lawhorn, 24, on murder and other charges after the incident.
For the first time, Barfield spoke with News13 about what she thinks happened the night of the shooting.
“They were best friends. The only reason that [Starquan Washington] got shot was because Mayo, which is again, a customer that was inside of Klocker’s when they left our bar, they went into Klocker’s, Kvon and Mayo got into an argument and Star was trying to stop Kvon from fighting Mayo,” she said. “And Mayo turned around and from anything I’ve been told and seen, Kvon thought Mayo was pulling his gun out. So, he shot him in defense and from, I guess, losing control of the gun. Accidentally shooting his best friend.”
Barfield said her business has had 11 police calls on it since January, but is convinced it’s her neighbors at Klocker’s. She said they’ve always had security, and that everyone who comes in gets patted down.
“In this instance, Kvon had a weapon on him and he didn’t have a car or anything to put it in,” she said. “So, that’s where our bartender was like ‘hey, I’ll put it behind the bar so you can stay, but you can’t have it on you in this building because we do not allow you to have your weapon in this building.”
Barfield said when they closed, the bartender gave Lawhorn his gun back when he left the bar. However, one hitch in her story is that the owner of Klocker’s Tavern previously told News13 that they were closed at the time of the shooting.
In the letter to Barfield’s owners, the state Department of Revenue said a gun believed to be the one used in the shooting was recovered from a “brushy area” behind the bar and that surveillance video shows the suspect “discarding a firearm in the same area.”
The letter also said the bartender told police that the suspected shooter was a regular at the bar and that it is “routine practice” to “secure the individual’s firearm” while inside the bar.
Barfield said her business has four years left on the building’s lease, and she said she 100% regrets moving from their old location on the corner of Highway 544 and Big Block Road in Socastee.
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Jackie LiBrizzi is a multimedia journalist at News13. Jackie is originally from Hamilton, New Jersey, and was raised in Piedmont, South Carolina. Jackie joined the News13 team in June 2023 after she graduated as a student-athlete from the University of South Carolina in May 2023. Follow Jackie on X, formerly Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and read more of her work here.
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Dennis Bright is a Digital Producer at News13. He joined the team in May 2021. Dennis is a West Virginia native and a graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Follow Dennis on, Facebook, X, formerly Twitter, and read more of his work here.