Wednesday, August 20, 2014
It was Saturday night at the Atlantic Beach BikeFest and the streets were crowded.
All was festive until about 11 p.m., when gunshots rang out in the crowded street near the Bermuda Sands Hotel.
In those few moments, someone snuffed out three young lives. Now, nearly three months later, the families of DeVonte Dantzler, Jamie Williams, and Sandra Gaddis Barnwell are no closer to finding the answers they so desperately crave than they were the night they first received the horrible news that their loved ones were not coming home.
Who killed DeVonte, Jamie, and Sandra, and why?
The families’ shared nightmare started at about 11 p.m. May 24 when officers of the Myrtle Beach Police Department responded to a report of a large fight in the street in front of the Bermuda Sands on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. However, before officers arrived on the scene, a black male wearing black pants and a white shirt with writing on the front fired three shots, which hit and wounded at least one young man, Keith Williams. According to reports, subjects involved in the fight then fled to the second floor of the hotel. As officers were tending to Williams, an unknown subject went to the second floor and fired multiple shots, striking and killing Dantzler, Williams, and Barnwell, all of whom were visiting Myrtle Beach from the Summerville area.
Wednesday, Myrtle Beach Police Department detectives working these cases, along with family members of the victims, appeared at the Summerville Police Department to once again appeal to the public for any information – any lead, rumor, scrap, thread – that can lead to the arrest of those who shot the three that night in May.
“We believe both incidents are related,” MBPD Det. Wil Kitelinger said. “Due to information we have developed in the course of the investigation, we have reason to believe there may be individuals here in the local community who may have information that could help us in our investigation but for whatever reason have not come forward.”
The investigation has been very difficult in large part because so many involved are not from Myrtle Beach, but were visiting – and this likely includes the suspects.
“We will aggressively follow up any lead generated,” Det. Wil Kitelinger said.
Members of the families implored the public to come forward with any information.
“DeVonte had just turned 21 – he hadn’t seen any of his life yet,” said Terri Dantzler. “He told his mother he was coming back, but he’s not coming back. Not knowing what happened is heartbreaking.”
Melody McFadden said her niece, Barnwell, was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and that the family was not going to allow her senseless death to go in vain.
“Sandy wasn’t in a gang,” she said. “She was just a young woman who wanted to have fun and see the bikes. We want answers, we’re not going away, we’re not going to stop until we know who did this and why.”
Anyone with any information can come forward in a variety of ways, including calling the Summerville Police Department at 843-871-2463.
To report information anonymously, one can call Crimestoppers at 554-1111 or 1-888-CRIME-SC or go to the crimestoppers website at 5541111.com. All information is completely anonymous and cash rewards of up to $1,000 are given for information that leads to an arrest.
Detective Wil Kitelinger of the Myrtle Beach Police Department can be contacted at 843-918-1905.