HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – Several homeowners in the Harmony at St. James neighborhood are voicing their concerns about nearby gunshots.
“This kind of thing you don’t get used to, Robin Kellic said. “Because it could be anytime. Anything could happen.”
Terry Rider doesn’t live in the neighborhood but babysits his grandson there often.
“I was just sitting here kind of quiet, just at the dining room table minding my own business and my grandson was kind of napping,” he recalled of the first time he heard the gunfire. “And I hear this kind of boom, boom, boom. I’m thinking to myself, ‘that’s gunshots and close. ‘”
The neighborhood has been expanding, and now abutts another lot where homeowners think the gunfire is coming from.
“I just think that’s crazy that somebody could shoot in that amount of space to a small child,” one homeowner said. She was afraid to reveal her identity. “We’re not trying to take anyone’s guns away. We just want to make sure our families are safe. That’s the bottom line.”
Her neighbor agreed.
“If you’re walking outside…it is so loud and it sounds like automatic weapons that we go inside the house,” she said. “It’s a family little neighborhood. And it’s scary. We need help. We need to find out what’s going on over there and it’s too close to home.”
Police reports obtained by News13 provide some answers.
The first report says officers spoke to the owner of an adjacent construction lot Monday about the gunshots. That was after a nearby resident allegedly brought in pellets from skeet shooting that hit their home.
The owner of the property, who reportedly lets their children and friends use the space for shooting, agreed to no longer shoot skeet and create a new berm for shooting handguns or rifles, the report says.
Officers checked the site a few days later, the report says, to find the owner had not created another berm.
By Sunday, officers were once again responding to complaints of gunfire, a follow-up report says. Police say they determined, though, the guns were being fired safely and were aimed in another direction.
We took the residents’ concerns to county leaders, who say police have the tools they need to monitor irresponsible shooters.
“If they are shooting irresponsibly then the police can charge them,” Horry County Councilmember Danny Hardee explained. “As long as they’re not irresponsible, it kind of puts us in a box where we can’t do anything.”
Horry County tabled a proposal to expand gun restrictions. Councilmember Hardee says stricter laws come with the risk of infringing on second amendment rights. He also says tougher restrictions would make policing more challenging.
“(We) certainly don’t want to mess with anyone’s right to own and bear arms,” Hardee said. “And if they want to target practice or fire guns, they need to do it responsibly.”
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