FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Four people — including two minors — died in four different shootings over two days across Florence County.
In the most-recent shooting, two people were taken into custody on Sunday after an 11-year-old was killed in Scranton, a spokesman for the Florence County Sheriff’s office said.
Early Saturday, 17-year-old Dairyont’ae Shaw was found dead on Pennsylvania Place in a shooing that Florence police say was a homicide. Some friends of Shaw’s marked the location with a memorial made up of toys and a balloon.
Later on Saturday, Florence police arrested Randolph Smith and charged him with murder after a separate shooting on Brunwood Drive.
“I heard the sirens and I just thought, whatever is going on, I hope that person is okay,” Latisha Burch said.
Burch lives just around the corner from the shooting. She said the victim, Larry Joyner, was a close friend of her son’s.
According to investigators, Smith shot and killed Joyner and drove off in his car with Joyner still inside after he refused to go to the store for him.
“He got along with everyone, would speak to everyone and was always smiling,” Burch said of Joyner. “It’s so close to home. I’ve never seen this neighborhood as quiet as it was last night.”
Early Sunday morning, the sheriff’s office responded to yet another shooting — this time on Carver Street. Benjamin Dixon was killed.
“The city and county can’t afford to buy our way out of this problem,” Florence City Councilwoman Lethonia Barnes said.
Barnes has been working to combat gun violence in the area. In February, she helped organize a town hall discussion to address the issue. Now, she thinks a solution will take much more than that.
“Instead of resolving your differences, you pick up a gun?” she said. “Something is going on and there needs to be a renewing of the mind.”
She said it is important, now more than ever, for the community to come together. People must strive to be positive role models for the next generation to show children that violence is never the answer,” she said.
“It takes a village to raise a child,” Barnes said. “It’s going to take a village to bring us out of this.”