Monday, June 9, 2014
Friends and activists gathered Monday, June 9, at Middleton Park in Goose Creek to ask the community to come forward with any tips in the death of a Stratford High graduate, and to ask the community to come together to stop the violence.
Ariel Morgan, 19, was killed 12:30 a.m. June 7 at a block party outside Moncks Corner. Gunfire also struck and injured four others. Suspects have not been identified.
“It’s going to take a community,” Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Bobby Shuler said Monday. “It’s not going to be solved just by law enforcement.”
National Action Network’s Elder James Johnson organized Monday’s press conference.
Johnson described Morgan as “innocent” and having “never committed a crime.”
“She did everything right in life,” Johnson said of Morgan. “Some thug, who probably was not old enough to buy a gun, shot and killed her.”
A few of Morgan’s friends attended the conference.
“She was an angel and a great person. She was always there for you, and the loudmouth in the group,” Lynch said. He added that she never had anything negative to say, but she “just always had to put her two cents in.”
Chynia Lewis, a friend of Morgan’s, spoke on behalf of the family.
“She lost her life to a fight that was not hers,” Lewis said. “She didn’t do anything to anybody.”
Those with any tips in the case were asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office, 761-4412, or Crime Stoppers, 554-1111.
Johnson said the grief the community feels now is part of a growing trend.
“We have seen an increase in crime. We cannot allow this to be another Chicago,” Johnson said. “Our community in Dorchester, Berkeley and Charleston counties is saturated with guns. We have to find out where these guns are coming from.”
Johnson said he plans to rally the community to take a bus ride later this month to push South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to investigate where illegal guns are coming from and push for a one-year mandatory sentence for possession of illegal weapons.
“It’s not going to stop until we get involved,” Johnson said.
“When you take drugs and throw it into a community, then you have the guns behind that... You have a war,” Johnson said. “We want the governor to find the illegal guns and remove the guns.”