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Crime: Grieving family pleads for end to gun violence

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Darryl Pyatt told mourners at his slain son’s wake last week that it’s time to stop senseless gun violence.

“If you pick up a gun,” Pyatt said, “your family is going to lose.”

Joshua Pyatt, 21, son of Darryl and Teresa Pyatt of the Pawleys Island area, was shot four times and killed during a carjacking in Myrtle Beach last week. He was missing for two days before his body was found in the stolen car at the West Wind Apartments off 17th Avenue South.

Joshua was eulogized by family members and other mourners who gathered at the home of his grandmother, Shelby Lance, in the Parkersville community last Friday. But it was his parents, Teresa and Darryl Pyatt, who fought through their grief to bring a larger message of compassion and forgiveness to about 100 people, many wearing T-shirts bearing Josh’s picture and the dates 1991-2013.

“I’m saying to the people who did this,” Darryl said, “I’m not mad at you. I have to forgive you because I am forgiven every day. But remember my son, Josh. These young kids, we’re losing them. We’ve got to create awareness today about violence. My son is gone, but if I can help another family not go through this, that’s what I’ve got to do in memory of my son. If I can do my little piece to curb this, my work is done.”

Josh Pyatt was sitting behind the wheel of a 2005 Nissan Altima on Vereen Avenue in Myrtle Beach when a man shot him four times and shoved him to the passenger’s side before driving away. After a two-day search for her missing son, Teresa Pyatt said his body was found in the car.

“If you are a parent,” Teresa said, “know what your children are doing.”

Darryl said the family had received many telephone calls of condolence. “Their hearts go out to us,” he said.

The Rev. Johnny Ford, who oversaw extemporaneous expressions of grief, affection and song during the wake, asked those gathered to lift up members of the family and bring them comfort despite their sorrow.

Some people sang hymns and others spoke directly to the parents and grandmother about their relationship with Josh, a fun-loving young man with a smile on his face.

Darryl said he and his son had a relationship of few words. “But we understood each other,” he said. “I will leave here with a joyful feeling about my son.”

Elizabeth Bowens of Myrtle Beach, representing South Carolina Mothers Against Violence, attended the wake. Her son, Tony Hemingway, 32, was killed while working as a bouncer at a Myrtle Beach nightclub. She called Josh Pyatt’s death a “tragedy at a young age, 21.”

She said the organization supports parents victimized by a growing trend that doesn’t value life.

Suspect held in shooting

A suspect in the shooting death of Joshua Pyatt, 21, of the Pawleys Island area has surrendered to police in Myrtle Beach. Capt. David Knipes of the Myrtle Beach Police Department said Swava Lamere McCrea, 24, of Myrtle Beach has been charged with murder, carjacking, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. More arrests are expected, Knipes said.

State Law Enforcement Division records indicated that McCrea has a criminal history that includes convictions of armed robbery as a juvenile and strong arm robbery with unlawful possession of a weapon.

Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call Detective Michael Quinn at 918-1910.

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