JASPER COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - There has been a rash of violent crimes in Jasper County over the last few months, mostly including drive-by shootings.
Some residents say they are scared that they could be caught in the crossfire. It’s been almost 4 months since an uptick in shootings scared Jasper County residents. Since then, they’ve had a handful of community meetings. The sheriff thinks talking it out is working.
The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office says a fatal July shooting has stemmed into almost 10 more shootings across the county in the months following. Residents at community meetings are concerned about rival gangs retaliating.
“We say it is not acceptable to have our seniors and the innocent caught in the crossfire," said Rev. L. Vanessa Johnson. "We know the issue is bigger than we are and larger than we can address on our own.”
The latest violent crime happening earlier this month in Hardeeville with three back to back shootings that deputies believe are all related.
More than 2 weeks ago, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office arrested Malik Bostnik on six attempted murder charges. Deputies believe he shot up a home that struck a 10-year-old in the leg. Residents say it must stop.
“We have innocent people who are unfortunately getting hit by crossfire and that’s the group of people we want to step up and come out and say you know what sheriff we are going to partner with you,” said Sheriff Chris Malphrus, Jasper County Sheriff’s Office.
The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office says they’ve partnered with a community-led peace committee. They are also developing their own app to keep residents more in the know.
“You’re right most of the people in here are not the problem. However, if those who are choosing to commit crimes in their neighborhoods realize that they are not going to put up with this foolishness then it holds those people to a higher standard,” said Malphrus.
Deputies are still investigating the July shooting that killed a 27-year-old near Ridgeland. No arrests have been made.
The sheriff was only able to provide a few statistics due to a malware attack that hit all Jasper County services and programs.