FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Florence city and county leaders met Monday to address the four deadly shootings that took place over the weekend.
Leaders met at the Florence Center to discuss solutions.
Florence Mayor Teresa Myers-Ervin said she can’t remember a time when the community has experienced a loss like it did this weekend. She stressed the importance of people coming together to prevent violent crime in the future.
“We need to protect life and we need to teach all what we can do and when we should walk away,” Myers-Ervin said.
She stressed the importance of learning de-escalation techniques and called on Chief Allen Heidler of the Florence Police Department and Major Mike Nunn with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office to inform the public on what it can do to prevent violence.
“Florence means all of us — city and county,” Myers-Ervin said. “There is no separation of the two when it comes to our citizens.”
Heidler stressed the importance of adult mentorship to young people and getting involved in community organizations. He said the police department and the sheriff’s office have worked together to create a program to help witnesses feel safe coming forward with information about crimes.
“We are asking folks, please,” Heidler said. “We can protect you. We understand that you are fearful of retaliation, but we have this program in place.”
Nunn said he and Florence County Sheriff TJ Joye are alarmed at the rates of violence. He said people should get in touch if they are worried about their neighborhood, and the sheriff’s office will help them create a crime watch organization.
“The community is our eyes and ears,” Nunn said. “We can’t do this without you.”
Myers-Ervin offered her sympathies to the victims’ families and assured the community that the violence will be addressed.
“To all the families who have lost a loved one, whether we know of it or not, our condolences and prayers are with you,” she said. “Know that we are laboring day and night to do all that we can to make all of Florence and our neighbors a better place.”
Anonymous tips can be left with both the Florence Police Department and Florence County Sheriff’s Office. Tips can also be left with Crime Stoppers of the Pee Dee at 1-888-CRIME-SC.