Shootings plague northern Beaufort County

Authorities are looking for answers as bullets continue to fly in northern Beaufort County and victims seek revenge.

Sunday, a sailor was shot dead on Lady's Island. Later that night, shots rang out at a party in Burton, injuring a 19-year-old St. Helena Island man.

Since July 5, authorities have responded to seven shootings in Burton, Sheldon and Beaufort and on Lady's Island, including three in the last week.

With many of the gunmen still at large, investigators are having difficulty gathering information on suspects because victims are insisting on taking matters into their own hands, said Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner.

"We've had some victims that have been extremely uncooperative," he said. "They say, 'We're not going to tell you who shot us; we're going to handle it.' That's a thug mentality, and it will not be tolerated. Victims must cooperate."

The most recent wave of gun violence turned deadly Sunday morning when authorities said a 23-year-old St. Helena man shot a Beaufort sailor outside the Masonic Lodge on Lady's Island.

The Sheriff's Office issued a warrant Monday for Melvin Holmes Jr. of St. Helena, charging the 23-year-old with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

Authorities said Holmes shot and killed

22-year-old Hospitalman Mario Morgan, a Montgomery, Ala., native stationed at Naval Hospital Beaufort, during an argument outside the club.

Another shooting occurred late Sunday night at a house party in Burton. Witnesses said a gunman fired into the air and into a crowd during a fight, injuring a 19-year-old St. Helena man.

Deputies arrested 22-year-old Anthony Dekwaun Lawton of Burton and charged him with unlawful carrying of a firearm. He is being held on a$10,000 bond.