MARION COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Two shootings that happened last week near the Gresham community in Marion County, including one that left two men dead, are connected to each other, Sheriff Brian Wallace told News13 on Tuesday.

The first shooting happened shortly after 7 p.m. on Sept. 19 at a home on Buck Trail Road and injured one person, authorities said. Then, on Wednesday night, authorities said Christopher Cooper, 33, and Charles White Jr., 35, were found shot to death inside a vehicle that was parked off of Bennett Loop Road.

No arrests have been made in either case.

“We see that when these violent offenders, these people committing these crimes, if they know the victims [are] not going to cooperate and they get by with it this time, they only escalate in violence,” Wallace said. “It’s kind of like a kid does, ‘well, I get by with it this time.’ It just keeps escalating.”

There have been other cases of gun violence and violent crime reported in the county during the past week.

On Monday night, Mullins police and sheriff’s deputies arrested two men and seized several weapons and body armor after a report of gunshots in Mullins. Police have not released the names of the suspects or any other information about the investigation.

Also during the past week, Mullins police have asked for the public’s help finding four men wanted in connection with an armed home invasion. Kyrei Platt, John Lasane Jr, Ahmel Platt, and Christopher Ford are all considered armed and dangerous.

“In my 24 years of service, it seems like in my last couple years I’ve just seen more guns on the streets,” Wallace said. And I’m not saying we need tougher gun laws. Most of our law-abiding citizens who carry weapons or have weapons, they abide by the law. It’s those violent offenders, those felons who shouldn’t be carrying a firearm. They’re the ones who’s committing the crimes.”

In addition, Mullins Mayor Robert L. Woodberry wrote a letter on his social media over the weekend about gun violence and how it has affected his city.

“Our community has endured pain, loss, and fear, and I want you to know we are all in this together,” he said. “Gun violence affects each and every one of us, regardless of where we live or who we are. Regardless of our beliefs or skin color, it still has an unimaginable impact on us all. It has no boundaries.”

Woodberry continued, saying “I wanted to reassure you that our community leaders, along with law enforcement, organizations and concerned citizens are joining hands to put a comprehensive plan of action it place.”

Wallace agreed, saying that a lack of law enforcement has contributed to the problem. He also said law enforcement needs to be more pro-active to violence in the community.

“Being heavily involved in our schools, starting with kids at a young age,” Wallace said. “Working to get these violent offenders off the street. Working with our prosecutors, solicitors.”

Many of the incidents are still under investigation.

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Aundrea Gibbons joined the News13 team in May 2023 after graduating from Clemson University with bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and communication. Aundrea is a Marion native and graduated as salutatorian in 2019. Follow Aundrea on X, formerly Twitter, 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.