A trail of blood stained the sidewalk Saturday morning outside Pure Ultra Club in downtown Myrtle Beach after a possibly gang-related shooting injured five people.
Shots rang out in the club at 803 Main Street about 2:30 a.m., and four men and one woman were injured, according to a Myrtle Beach police report.
Four of the victims involved appear to be bystanders, Lt. Joey Crosby with Myrtle Beach police said.
Three victims were treated and released from the hospital. One victim was treated on scene, and the fifth victim, who was seriously injured, is receiving treatment at the hospital. His condition is unknown, Crosby said.
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The shooter fled the scene after the violence, and police announced hours later they were seeking warrants in connection with a person of interest in the case.
The Sun News has not been able to reach club management.
Myrtle Beach tourist Jerry Bell visiting from the Detroit area displayed shock when he saw the scene on his way out to grab breakfast and said he and friends he’s traveling with were going to visit the club last night, but didn’t.
“This is terrible,” said Bell. “I’m so glad I didn’t go.”
“A trail of blood out of the club – I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Ron White, Myrtle Beach resident who happened by the crime scene Saturday morning on his way to watch the sunrise at the beach with his family after he said he was returning from a six-month trip around the country.
He expressed outrage and shock at the bloody scene roped off by crime scene tape. White said he was heartbroken and disappointed and felt fearful of the direction the town was headed toward.
“The town is really turning into something dark,” he said.
Myrtle Beach City Councilman Randal Wallace said while the downtown area has struggled, city leaders have been taking steps to make changes, and he said he thought the city as a whole is a safe community.
Wallace also pointed out that a gang task force was created to combat gang violence plaguing the county. Last year, county police, sheriff’s office and the city of Myrtle Beach police formed a gang task force to focus on these crimes.
The club, which opened in August 2014, is within the Superblock area of downtown Myrtle Beach, also known as Five Points, and that area has been the subject of debate as city officials passed laws restricting bars last year, which leaders have said stemmed from criminal activity in the area.
On Oct. 27, 2015, Myrtle Beach City Council enacted a new moratorium halting any new bars or nightclubs from opening in the Superblock area until Jan. 1, 2017 to give the city’s planning commission time to study the issue of how many bars should be allowed in one place.
Business owners in the area said last year they felt targeted by increased police patrols and new city ordinances, but city leaders contended they have no master redevelopment plan afoot that would force out bars and night clubs.
Employees at a Superblock business, who did not want to be named for fear of hurting their business, said Saturday they have had enough of shooting violence in the area and want to see new measures put in place to restrict bar closing times and add a stronger police presence to the area to deter crime.
The club’s normal hours are from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. As of 6 p.m. on Saturday night the club was not open. It is unknown at this time when the building will reopen.
Wallace, of city council, said he’s been reluctant to close bars at 2 a.m. because he knows many service industry workers get off around that time and are simply attending bars as employees who get off at 5 p.m. would go to happy hour, and he said it seemed unfair to service industry to close them earlier.
Wallace said the recent shooting incident would likely be discussed when council meets on Tuesday.