McCORMICK, S.C. (WJBF) — Authorities in McCormick, South Carolina are working overtime to find out who’s responsible for a string of shooting incidents in the area.
“We stay pretty quiet,” McCormick Police Chief Bo Willis told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk when asked if the recent shootings are typical in the area. “At about midnight, the streets roll up and everybody’s home in bed. This is not very typical to start having people shooting up houses or cars or anything like that,” Chief Willis added.
Chief Willis has been Police Chief for about two years. He took over the reins 11 months after former chief J.R. Jones was put on leave. The Chief shared that gun violence in the area has gotten out of control in recent years.
“Thanksgiving last year, you know, we had a shooting out at the club out in the County. We lost two citizens out there,” he recalled. “Right now, that’s pretty much on everybody’s mind,” he added.
Most of the problems, he and McCormick County Sheriff Clarke Stearns say, seem to come from other areas.
“But if you watch Greenwood/Abbeville when it gets prominent in those two counties, it comes to McCormick,” he stated.
Four incidents happened in the area within the last two weeks.
On November 2 in the 100 block of Carolina Street, a man driving his vehicle said that he and a passenger was struck by gunfire.
An incident report reveals that the driver sustained one gunshot wound to his ring finger of his right hand and one gunshot wound to the lower half of his right thigh. The passenger didn’t sustain any injuries.
“And the way that car was shot up, I was totally surprised that we didn’t call the coroner that night,” Chief Willis said. “We had bullets that went slap through the automobile in the windshield, out the other windshield and one come through the back and went out the front of the car,” he added.
The pair said that they were headed west on Carolina Street when they noticed a silver Dodge Charger with black rally stripes running down the hood, sitting at the old abandoned laundromat, located at the intersection of S. Oak Street and Carolina Street. They said that as they approached the intersection, gunshots began to ring out from the direction of the parked Charger, striking their vehicle on the passenger side multiple times.
Multiple shell casings were discovered at the crime scene.
Then, starting with last Saturday, November 9, three sperate shootings in the County.
“No persons were hurt or injured. There was property damage on vehicles and two houses,” McCormick County Sheriff Clarke Stearns said.
In one of those three incidents took place at Westown Apartments on Talbert Road. Authorities spoke with two people just before 11 p.m. who said that they were in a vehicle and heard gunshots but was unable to see anything. Officers with the Sheriff’s Office arrived to find seven cars were damaged. Multiple shell casings were found, as well.
Then the next day on November 10, a man contacted authorities after his home was shot up.
According to an incident report, he was lying in the bed with his wife when he heard a gunshot outside. He grabbed his shotgun and pistol and went to the side door to investigate. At that point, documents say, he saw an unknown person jump into a vehicle and speed off. He was told his house was shot due to rumors about another shooting the night before.
The victim of the incident may know the person responsible for that incident. The complainant told authorities that the person who jumped into the vehicle used to work at Georgia Pacific.
On Monday, November 11, another incident happening in the County on Chestnut Ridge Road. The person who contacted officials say they didn’t see or hear anything in this incident but a vehicle was damaged by gunshots.
“We have three persons of interest that we’re continuing to investigate and we’re also a coupling our investigation with the City of Greenwood,” Sheriff Stearns shared. “We are making leaps and bounds in this case though. We’re pretty confident that we’ll have some closure to it before too long,” he added.
While the Sheriff is sure about suspects in his three cases, the Police Chief is still looking for the suspects in a silver car.
“So we’re looking into it. Hoping that the victims can be a little more cooperative and tell us exactly everything they know about what went on, Chief Willis added.
If you have any information, contact your local authorities.