New details show how accused Waccamaw bingo shooter was released on bond for attempted murder


HORRY CO, SC (WBTW) – The man charged with shooting to death a father and son at the Waccamaw bingo hall was out on bond after four recent attempted murder charges.

Derrick Rivera, 29, is a convicted violent felon with a lengthy arrest record dating back to 2006 -with the most recent charges in May for attempted murder. Download SLED arrest record.

The four counts of attempted murder stem from a drive-by shooting, according to the Horry County solicitor’s office. No one was injured in the drive-by shooting.  Rivera’s bond was set to $32,000, that’s $8,000 per count of attempted murder. He was in Georgetown County Detention Center for a month before being released on bond on June 24.

Rivera’s first felony burglary conviction was when he was 16 years old. His criminal history includes:

  • May 23 – Four charges of attempted murder by the Georgetown Police Department.
  • April 11 – Possession of a firearm by a convicted violent felon, Richland County 
    – Body armor by a violent offender, Richland County
  • Sept. 2011 – Strongarm robbery, Georgetown County                  
    – Violent burglary, second degree
  • Aug. 2010  – Armed robbery with a deadly weapon
    – Assault and battery
  • Aug. 2009   – Interference / hindering officers, traffic violations
  • April 2008  – Breaking into auto or tanks, failure to stop for blue light
  • Sept. 2007   – Hindering an officer and five misdemeanors, Georgetown County
  • Aug. 2007   – Malicious injury to personal property and resisting arrest, Georgetown Police
  • Nov. 2006   – Burglary, 2 counts, South Carolina Dept. of Corrections.

Rivera, of Georgetown, and Bradford Britton, 40, also of Georgetown, have been arrested in connection to the shooting death of a father and son who owned the bingo hall,  Stephen “Steve” Johnson, Sr., 73, and Stephen “Sparky” Johnson Jr., 46.

Stephen “Steve” Johnson Sr. (left) and Stephen “Sparky” Johnson Jr.

According to arrest warrants, Rivera “did enter the Waccamaw Bingo located at 4011 Belle Terre Blvd in the Myrtle Beach section of Horry County while armed with a handgun and robbed the business. During the course of the robbery, the defendant did shoot two victims with malice and aforethought causing their deaths.”

The warrants also detail how police believe Britton, “did commit the offense of armed robbery with a codefendant. During the commission of the robbery, two victims were shot and killed with malice aforethought.”

Rivera is charged with two counts of murder, two counts of armed robbery, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. Britton is charged with two counts of murder and two counts of armed robbery. He was also wanted on a fugitive warrant out of Texas for failure to appear on a narcotics charge.

Both men waived their rights to be present for an initial bond hearing in court on Thursday since bond must be set by the Circuit Court. Judge William Hutson referred the murder charges up to Circuit Court for bond. The incident happened at Waccamaw Bingo, along Belle Terre Boulevard off of Highway 501 in the Forestbrook area, around 9:30 p.m. Friday night.

A candlelight vigil was held on Monday night for the victims.

Steve Johnson Sr.’s brother and other friends said Steve and Sparky made the bingo parlor a true family-owned and family-oriented place where the community could come together.

“We had so much fun working here,” said John Reichardt, who worked alongside the men calling bingo numbers for nearly 30 years. “I mean, they were good people. They’d do anything for you.”

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