“Multiple people down!” Bubba Hinson exclaimed as he live-streamed a video of what started as a mob stalling traffic, but turned into a mass shooting on Ocean Boulevard early Sunday morning.
Eight people were injured in three shootings that erupted this weekend around heavily trafficked tourist areas in Myrtle Beach. At least one of the shootings was caught on the camera of a visitor, who streamed it live on Facebook. The video went viral with over 1 million views by Sunday afternoon.
Some tourists say they won’t return to Myrtle Beach anytime soon.
“If you’re watching this, stay away from Fourth Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard,” Hinson cautioned viewers on his Facebook Live video. “There’s multiple people been shot!”
Hinson, a volunteer firefighter, was in town for the SC Fire-Rescue Convention when he said he noticed a mass of people stalling traffic on Ocean Boulevard.
“I thought they were dancing. That’s why I started filming it,” he said Sunday after checking out of the Holiday Sands North. “Then, they started fighting. Then, they started shooting.”
Police were responding to the area of Fifth Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard to break up a large crowd around 12:25 a.m. Some of the crowd started to run as cruisers approached.
Then, a fight broke out between a few men near the Wayfarer Motel at Fourth Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard. Seconds later, one of the men in the fight pulled a gun from his pants and opened fire. The shooter fled the scene by carjacking a vehicle, according to a release from the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
Seven people were hospitalized with “non-life-threatening injuries,” including the shooter, who police say was shot by an armed security officer on the scene.
“A suspect in this case has been identified and apprehended,” MBPD Lt. Joey Crosby said Sunday morning.
The name of the suspect “will be released once he has been medically-cleared and the warrants can be served,” he added.
Tourists alarmed by shooting
Although it appeared as if an officer had been shot during the Facebook Live video, police say that wasn’t the case.
“No officers were shot or injured as a result of this incident,” Crosby said. “The security officer did receive a graze wound to the leg. The injury did not require him to be transported to the hospital and he received medical attention on scene.”
By 10 a.m., Hinson said his video of the fight, shooting and carjacking had more than 450,000 views and he had been contacted by close to 20 media outlets.
“I always wanted a viral video, but I never wanted it to be like this,” he said.
Hinson lives a few hours away in South Carolina. He says he’s been coming to Myrtle Beach every year, but the shooting he witnessed might keep him away for a while. He wasn’t the only tourist feeling that way Sunday morning.
John Lee, visiting from Hillsborough, N.C., said he probably won’t be back any time soon.
He was in town with friends, staying at the Wayfarer Motel, when the shootout broke out in the parking lot.
Lee and his friends came back to find their hotel and one of their cars roped off by crime scene tape after the shooting. They couldn’t get into their room, so they stayed somewhere else, he said.
His friend’s car was riddled with bullet holes and smeared with blood. The driver-side window had been shot out.
“We’re just here on vacation,” Lee said. “This sucks.”
They were going to check out and spend some time on the beach before leaving town, he said, but now his group was just ready to leave.
“We’re ready to get out of here,” Lee said.
The shooting outside the Wayfarer was the second one Brandon Coburn and Ebony Plair said they witnessed in Myrtle Beach within a span of 8 hours this weekend.
To celebrate her birthday, Plair said she went with friends to see the “All Eyez on Me” movie at the Cinemark at Myrtle Beach in the Coastal Grand Mall Saturday afternoon. Then, she heard the popping sounds of gunfire.
Two more shootings
Police were called to the Coastal Grand Mall around 4:30 p.m. Saturday after someone reported a gun had been fired. One person was shot in the parking lot, according to a release from MBPD.
The victim was taken to a local hospital with a non-life-threatening injury, police said.
Ten minutes after the shooting at the mall, officers were dispatched to the Crown Reef Resort for another reported shooting. Police did not find anyone with injuries at the scene, according to the release.
Coburn and Plair are staying in town this summer for work and were walking back to their hotel near the Wayfarer when the latest shooting happened early Sunday morning.
“You would think with all of these cameras everywhere they wouldn’t do it, but still people don’t care,” Plair said.
Hundreds of surveillance cameras are scattered throughout the city and have helped police solve cases and find suspects on many occasions.
Several police cruisers patrolled Ocean Boulevard Sunday morning as a crime scene officer snapped photographs of the scene outside the Wayfarer, where blood stained the sidewalk underneath a palm tree.
Officers continue to investigate all three shootings.
Anyone with information is asked to call the MBPD at 843-918-1382.