‘No respect for life,’ problem behind Darlington violence, reverend says

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – A Darlington council member and police chief are working together to stop gun violence after two men were killed earlier this week.

Monday morning, Darlington police arrived at Kirven and Southern Pines Street, where a wrecked car had two young men shot inside. People in the area, afraid to go on camera, said there was a shootout between two cars that started with a fight about three weeks ago.

Now council, police, and clergy in the area want to make sure this never happens again.

Darlington County Coroner J.T. Hardee identified 21-year-old Randolph McClain and 24-year-old Ahmond Britton as the two men killed in Monday’s shooting.

Councilwoman Elaine Reed represents the area. She is going to churches in the city in hopes of bringing forward mentor programs for the youth.

“I just want to thank you for being a part of trying to at least address this problem that we have here in Darlington,” Reed said to Pastor Rev. Dr. Cecil L. Bromell of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.

“We all have to, first of all, work together. The more we can reach our community and young people, the more we can help them lead a purposeful life,” said Bromell. “When you don’t have a purposeful life, no plan for your life, thereby you have no respect for life.”

Police Chief Danny Watson said the investigation is still ongoing and there are no suspects at this time.

“It is important for all of us more so than any other time to pull together and work hard to ensure the safety of the people of Darlington,” said Watson in a post on the Darlington Police Department Facebook.

Watson, Reed and clergy leaders gathered at the scene Wednesday to brainstorm ways to create a safer neighborhood.

“If there is any little part [or] anything I can say to make a difference that’s what I’m going to do,” said Reed. “Let’s map out a plan. Let’s see what we can do to be truly hands-on.”

Reed then invited the group to have a round table discussion.

Minister Cisco Reed with Strong  Tower Christian Ministry explained he’s churches mentoring program called ‘Is there not a cause’.

“We do one young man at a time. We are expanding that to even more,” said Minister Cicso Reed. “I grew up in the City of Darlington. It can be a dangerous thing for a young man not to have anything on his plate during the summer time.”

The group plans to bring mentoring agencies for young men and churches together.

“It took a tragedy to bring us together to do something that we all have a heart, a love and a passion for.We should have been active instead of reactive,” admits Pastor Kelsey Goodson with Strong Tower Christian Ministry.

Pastor Kyle Myer with Grate Commission Ministries and also the Darlington Police Chaplin said the healing starts with prayer. He is planning a drive-thru prayer next Monday at 6 p.m. in the IGA parking lot.

“How are we going to stand back and stand on the sidelines and allow evil to rear its head and divide and conquer our city,” Myer said passionately.

People and churches are invited to pray for Darlington and the families impacted by gun violence.