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Triple homicide in Myrtle Beach: Police hunt for shooting suspects

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Myrtle Beach Police are investigating a triple homicide that took place on the oceanfront Saturday night shortly after an altercation took place at a local hotel.

The Associated Press reported May 25 that three people were shot to death and a fourth individual was wounded at around 11 p.m. (EST) on Saturday night outside the Bermuda Sands Motel. The shootings took place just off crowded Ocean Boulevard in front of tourists enjoying the beach and the winding down of Atlantic City Bike Fest, one of the area's many festivals geared toward motorcycle enthusiasts.

"We've got detectives working on it around the clock," Myrtle Beach Police Capt. David Knipes said Sunday. "We don't have any suspects in custody."

Witnesses to the oceanfront shooting say that shots were fired after a fight broke out in front of the motel.

One eyewitness saw one of the victims fall just outside their room at the motel.

"We had just come up the stairs when the guy got shot. My husband saw when he fell right in front of our room," said Megan Sloan, who was vacationing with her family from Salisbury, N. C.

She said they hadn't found out that people had actually been killed until they saw it on the news Sunday morning.

She admitted, "It scared me to death." So they decided to change hotels for the duration of their stay. "We tried to get our money back, but they wouldn't give it back," she added.

Horry County deputy coroner Darris Fowler identified all the shooting victims as South Carolinians: Devonte Dantzler, 21, of Summerville; Sandy Gaddis Barnwell, 22, of Summerville; and Jamie Williams, 28, of Ladson.

The wounded individual was taken to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.

Capt. Knipes noted that the shooting did not appear to be random but would not disclose whether or not investigators had yet to establish a motive.

Violence during the various bike festivals is uncommon, police note. The most they usually have to deal with is the occasional motocycle accident.

But that didn't stop several business owners to call for an end to Bike Fest participation by the city of Myrtle Beach. By Monday (May 26), WBTW reported, not only were there complaints regarding the violence but a Facebook page had been created calling for an end to Bike Fest. The page, which claims that crime goes up each year with regard to the festival, has received over 16,000 likes since its launch on May 25.

Atlantic City Bike Fest, also known as Black Bike Week or Black Bikers' Week, is the annual follow-up to the somewhat more popular Harley Davidson Bike Week, which celebrated its 75th anniversary this year.

Capt. Knipes said Myrtle Beach experienced only two homicides in all of 2013.

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