‘Shootings are alarming’: Teen shot in Chester; 3rd victim in 5 days, police say

A Chester teen was shot late Tuesday in a drive-by shooting, marking the third gunshot victim in the city in five days, police said.

Chester Police Department Chief Eric Williams said that the number of shootings in the city has pushed police in Chester, along with South Carolina state agents, to seek new ways to try and stem the tide of violence. Police in Chester County have reached out to both state agents and federal law enforcement in handling the recent shootings and preventing further incidents, officials said.

Chester has about 5,500 residents.

Eight people have been shot since early April in Chester, according to police. None of the victims were killed, but police have concerns about public safety.

“The frequency of these shootings is alarming, and there is unease in our community because of it,” Williams told The herald. “Law enforcement in Chester, including the sheriff’s office, are looking at ways we can try and stop these violent acts.”

The latest ride-through shooting incident happened around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday on Carr Street near the intersection of Collins Street and Caldwell Street, Williams said. The male victim, 18, was grazed by a bullet and treated for his injuries at a hospital, Williams said.

Chester patrol, detectives and other law enforcement units, including deputies from the Chester County Sheriff’s Office and SLED agents, responded.

The shooting has not yet been firmly linked to the shooting May 23 of two victims on Jeter Street, but Williams said there are similarities to the incidents.

“We have some information in both cases that is parallel, and the cases could be related, but at this time we are not sure yet,” Williams said.

Police are also investigating whether Wednesday night’s incident has connections to an April street shootout where three men were hurt, Williams said. That incident happened on Simrill Street.

Another April shooting, where two men were injured near the J.A. Cochran Bypass, also is being investigated, Williams said.

All the shooting cases remain active, he said.

Chester County Sheriff Max Dorsey has vowed to work with Chester city police to end the violence. Dorsey took office earlier this month when Alex Underwood was suspended from office after being indicted by federal prosecutors.

“We are working together on this incident and all the other incidents that came before,” Dorsey said. “We are ‘One Chester.’ We are working on this problem together.”

Dorsey agreed with Williams that shootings must be addressed.

“We recognize this is a serious problem and it is disturbing that it has escalated in such a short period of time,” Dorsey said. “We are going to lean on our state and federal partners in law enforcement, too. This is about how we can achieve results.”

The State Law Enforcement Division is also assisting Chester police in the investigations, police said.

In June 2018, a 14-year-old Rock Hill girl who was visiting friends in Chester was shot and killed in what police and prosecutors say was a drive-by shooting where the wrong person was shot. Two suspects in that case were arrested and are awaiting trial.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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Andrew Dys covers breaking news and public safety for The Herald, where he has been a reporter and columnist since 2000. He has won 51 South Carolina Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, race, justice, and people. He is author of the book “Slice of Dys” and his work is in the U.S. Library of Congress.