By Andrew Coffman Smith Associated Press
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Three people were killed and a fourth person was wounded in a shooting at an oceanfront motel in Myrtle Beach, one of South Carolina’s most popular tourist destinations.
The shootings took place around 11 p.m. Saturday in front of crowds of tourists at the Bermuda Sands Motel along the beach’s new boardwalk, Myrtle Beach Police Capt. David Knipes said.
Officers draped towels over the balcony of a breezeway just outside the doors to the rooms of the motel to shield two of the bodies from people on nearby Ocean Boulevard.
“We’ve got detectives working on it around the clock,” Knipes said Sunday. “We don’t have any suspects in custody.”
Knipes would not say whether detectives have determined a motive for the shooting, but said it didn’t appear to be a random shooting.
The victims were Devonte Dantzler, 21, of Summerville; Sandy Gaddis Barnwell, 22, of Summerville; and Jamie Williams, 28, of Ladson, Horry County deputy coroner Darris Fowler said. The fourth victim, whose condition is not known, was hospitalized.
The area around the motel was busy with tourists Sunday about 12 hours after the shooting. Tourists who were asked for comment declined to speak to a reporter because a suspect was still at large and they feared retribution.
The Sun News quoted a witness as saying that several people were fighting on the sidewalk in front of the motel minutes before the shooting.
“At first, everyone was standing around to see who was going to win the fight. Then they started shooting and everyone scattered,” George Covington told the newspaper.
The shooting happened during the annual Atlantic Beach BikeFest held about 15 miles away during the Memorial Day weekend. Police say they typically deal with motorcycle wrecks and lesser offenses during the bike rally, but violence is unusual.
Knipes said Myrtle Beach had just two homicides in all of 2013.