The second night of the Memorial Day weekend saw visitors flock to Myrtle Beach, though it perhaps wasn’t drastically different from a typical warm Saturday in the city. An early Sunday shooting, though, stained what's been an otherwise uneventful weekend so far.
Despite Bikefest being delayed until September, this weekend has seen some bikers like Jeff Short, a day tripper who drove his motorcycle to the Grand Strand with some friends. Normally, the group stays in the city for all of Black Bike Week.
“We rode down just to see what was going on, have a little fun and get out the house,” the Cheraw resident said. “Altogether, it’s still laid back and it’s still pretty good [even though] it’s not what we’re used to.”
As a biker, Short said staying cooped up can be hard at times. The COVID-19 crisis hasn’t stopped him from and others still go out on their bikes, however, and he noted riders can still practice social distancing.
“We just get out and ride,” he said. “We may not stop anywhere, but we just get out and ride.”
While many have had fun in the city, this weekend has also seen violence.
Days after a gunfight on Ocean Boulevard left two people shot and resulted in seven arrests, a second shooting with injuries in a one-week span happened in the Ocean Boulevard area.
Myrtle Beach police Cpl. Tom Vest said the incident was reported just after 12:30 a.m. Sunday in the area of 12th Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard.
Officers responded to the area following reports of shots being fired, and police found several persons who were injured who are currently receiving treatment.
Anyone with information, photos or video is asked to call the MBPD at 843-918-1382. Callers can remain anonymous and reference report number 20-007160.
Before the shooting, police could be seen patrolling the area near barricades.
Southbound-only traffic on much the boulevard slowed traffic to a crawl.
Pedestrians occasionally danced to music blaring from those strolling the downtown area holding speakers or from cars or motorcycles cruising nearby.
Some like James Williams from Swansboro, North Carolina, sported masks as they walked the area.
“I have to stay protected out here,” he said.
Myrtle Beach is a lot different than Williams’ hometown or the more nearby Wilmington.
He and his friends like coming to the Grand Strand regularly to ride go-karts, eat funnel cake and amble about Ocean Boulevard, and he noted Saturday night’s crowd was likely full of people who have been staying in the house and waited to hit the city again.
“People are probably just happy to come back out here because of the [coronavirus],” he said.
Like Short, Williams planned to leave the city Saturday after arriving earlier in the afternoon.
“We were thinking about getting a hotel, but they got everything booked,” he said. “A lot of people are down here now.”
Not only were out-of-towners downtown, but locals as well.
That included Myrtle Beach High School senior Torrance Lay, who wore her commencement cap and tassel, and she garnered congratulatory wishes from passersby.
Not being able to take part in a traditional graduation ceremony this year, she said walking along the boulevard is an alternative to walking across a stage.
“Everyone needs to know where I came from,” she said. “I deserve it. I worked hard for it.”