Increased violence sparks calls for change in Greenwood


GREENWOOD, SC (WSPA) – The mother of a shooting victim is among those calling for an end to violence in an Upstate community.

“When I heard the gun play I fell trying to get out of my bed because I walk with a cane,” said Barbara Gilliam as she recalled when her son was shot last year. “My heart just went down. I thank God that my son was spared but I hate that the guy got killed.”

The shooting happened at Phoenix Place Apartments in Greenwood last November, and three suspects were arrested. 

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It’s the same place where community leaders gathered calling for change. 

“There’s too much gun violence and people are in fear of their life,” said Put Down The Guns Now Young People Founder Jack Logan. 

The push comes a day after a shooting about two and a half miles down the road in Greenwood County.

“All these guns – this violence, it needs to stop,” said Gilliam. 

It’s violence they say comes from friction between groups in Greenwood and nearby Abbeville.

“We’re asking for some help here to get this violence stopped in the community in the area of Greenwood and Abbeville,” said Abbeville City Council Member Chris Crawford. “The beef that’s going on is costing too many lives.”

They say people need to speak up after a crime, and law enforcement should do more to patrol the neighborhoods.

“We’re always willing to say there’s room for improvement. We don’t do a perfect job, but we try to do as hard as we can. We try to work everyday to do what we can to keep the community safe,” said Greenwood Police Spokesman Jonathan Link. “I just reiterate the fact that we need that communication.”

He said there have been more incidents than usual recently but officers haven’t pinned down a root cause. 

“What we need is the community to let us know what’s going on,” said Link. 

He said they’re trying to build that bridge through officers giving  coupons from 7-Eleven and guest passes to the Greenwood Family YMCA to neighborhood kids.

“We just want a chance to let them know hey police officers are normal people. We’re just coming out we want to do something to help you,” said Link. “It’s just a moment for us to speak with a kid when we’re not interviewing them about a crime.”

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Gilliam said local kids need to feel safe.

“We’re a small community, and we need to be at peace.  We don’t need to be scared in our own home,” she said. “Back when I was coming up we didn’t have this – if you had beef you fight it out you don’t use weapons. I feel like you picking up a weapon, you’re being a coward. And, it’s not fair to the younger generations.”

The Greenwood County Sheriff’s office tells 7News there have been no suspects or arrests in the Monday afternoon shooting on West Alexander Road. The sheriff tells us one person was released from the hospital, and the other was in critical but stable condition at last check.

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