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Crime: Killing at bar is area’s third homicide in 9 months

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

The beating death of a Georgetown man outside a bar on Highway 17 early Saturday was the third homicide in the Pawleys Island area in nine months.

Though unrelated, the number of homicides is unusual for the area, law enforcement officials say.

Thomas Edward Unrue, 37, of Georgetown was found lying dead outside the bar. He had been beaten. Two suspects are in custody charged with his murder. (Read more.)

In May, James Earl “Scoopy” Richardson Jr., 18, was found shot to death along Parkersville Road. Sean Edward, 21, was shot and killed outside Club Isis in August. No arrests have been made in those cases.

“It’s really unusual,” Sheriff Lane Cribb said. “It’s just bad luck, I think. People in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

It’s also a function of a growing population, said Coroner Kenny Johnson, a former deputy himself.

“We don’t normally have those things happen,” he said. “As you’ve got the population increase so does the opportunity for people to do things.”

Cribb and Johnson had the same thing to say about the latest killing: “Nothing good goes on after midnight.”

“Maybe it’s a generational thing,” Johnson said.

Pawleys Island Police Chief Mike Fanning said the killings are a concern even though outside the town limits. “If it happens on the mainland, we feel it,” he said.

Pawleys police were on the scene in all three cases to help the sheriff’s office.

Fanning said his concern is with perception, “the whole Broken Windows thing,” that neglect breeds crime. “There’s a sense that things are getting out of control,” he said.

The sheriff’s office went to court to close Club Isis after two people were shot and wounded in December. “It closed for good,” Cribb said.

The recent killings don’t impact most people, he said. “If it was a drive-by [shooting] or something it would be different.”

“Things are different,” he added. “I hate to say it. Morals are different.”

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