Parks open in Barnwell after closure for safety

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

BARNWELL, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A third suspect in a deadly shooting in Williston last week is still on the run but parks in Barnwell are back open, even though the police chief said gangs were at one another and they want to keep everyone safe.

They're building a new police department for the city of Barnwell. It's a sign of development, a sign of growth and a sign of change. But, the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same.

Two minutes from where the parks were once closed, the Barnwell police are still connecting the dots to what they call gang retaliation.

"A guy got killed because of the two guys that went to the house and killed him for probably no reason," said Yulanda Jefferson, who lives in Barnwell.

On a Sunday, a 22-year-old was gunned down by three suspects in Williston. Two days later, shots were fired in a home in Barnwell in response.

"You can't even rest in peace," said Yulanda Jefferson.

Jefferson lives nearby.

"Somebody call and say its a shooting out in your neighborhood and you can't even go to sleep at night," said Jefferson.

Barnwell officials said the parks may not be safe because of the crime but Yulanda says the parks should've been the least of their worries and she would know.

"Someone shot her in the head," said Jefferson.

Someone walked into her mom's home and pulled the trigger 40 years ago.

"Til this day I don't know why," said Jefferson.

If it could happen in a house, to her mother in this city, Yulanda knows it's going to take more than closing and opening Barnwell parks.

“I’m getting really sick of the gun violence and the drugs so we're going to have to come together and do something with these kids," said Jefferson.

While investigators may believe the third suspect is no longer in town, they've increased policing and patrolling in the community until the foreseeable future.