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A rural South Carolina town is reeling from a “tragic 24 hours” Sunday after four teens were found shot and killed just a block a part from each other, and no suspects have been identified or arrested.
The death of the males between the ages of 15 and 19 rocked the small town of Newberry, located 43 miles northwest of Columbia. Local authorities said the county, state, DEA, ATF, and FBI are providing resources as the investigation continues into what the police chief described as the largest case in the past 27 years of his time on the job.
Early Sunday morning, at approximately 12:05 a.m., a shooting happened in the 1700 block of Wise Street, and a 16-year-old male who was shot later died of his injuries at Newberry County Memorial Hospital. Later Sunday afternoon, at approximately 2:51 p.m., another shooting took place in the 2400 block of Eleanor Street, where three males, aged 15, 18, and 19, died of apparent gunshot wounds.
No arrests have been made, and no suspects had been identified as of Monday.
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The shooting happened within a block of each other several hours apart. Newberry Police Chief Kevin Goodman said investigators are still working to determine whether the two incidents are related, but the victims did know each other and were at least associates “in the same social circle” and were friends at least at some point.
“I want to take time to say to my Newberry community: We must stay prayerful. We must come together and work together to find a way to help our young people,” Goodman said, growing visibly emotional. “To the young people of Newberry, understand this, we love you and I love you. And I want nothing but the best for you. I’m here for you, and we have to do better.”
“I’ve been here my entire life. I started mentoring and coaching when I was a sophomore at Newberry College. I’m really, really connected with the youth,” the chief added. “These are not just Newberry kids, these are my kids, kids that I spend time with. So it’s hard.”
In his 27 years of service, Goodman said he has not dealt with a case of this magnitude.
“As a lifelong resident of Newberry, not just the chief of police, someone who loves this community, someone who loves the youth in this community, I am in disbelief, and I hurt to the core,” Goodman told reporters. “We’re losing our young people at an alarming rate and some things have got to change. These four young men have left behind parents, siblings, friends and other family members that love them, and wanted nothing but the best for them. Somehow, some way, we as a community, as village, have to find a way to reach our young people to avoid these types of meetings.”
The chief, as well as Newberry Mayor Foster Senn, both described the “tragic 24 hours” for their small town, arguing that gun violence is increasingly plaguing young people across the country.
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“It was a tragic 24 hours in Newberry to had four young people – all children of God – whose lives were not supposed to end so soon. We are gravely saddened and extend our sympathies to the families,” Senn said at the press conference. “While we don’t know the details of this situation. Gun violence must stop. Young people with guns is a national problem, is a state problem, and is a problem in Newberry. The great majority of our gun people are doing the right things. For those turning to guns, there are going to be tragic and senseless ending such as those that we had in Newberry this weekend.”