EMS chief accused of making offensive comments

EMS chief accused of making offensive comments
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 5:40 PM EDT
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WHITEVILLE, N.C. (WECT) - A man in charge of protecting lives in Columbus County is under fire after allegedly making offensive comments in public last weekend.

Shannon Worrell is a chief of Lake Waccamaw Fire & Rescue Auxiliary, an emergency medical service contracted through Columbus County, according to Lake Waccamaw’s Mayor Matt Wilson.

Worrell was at the register questioning his bill after having dinner at San Jose Mexican Restaurant Sunday night. Restaurant employees say he was using hurtful language while doing so.

Security camera footage shows a woman approach the teenage hostess and tell Worrell that she needs to take her daughter home. Worrell responds, saying he thought the girl was Brianna Smith’s daughter. After being informed the two mothers are together, he can be heard saying “I guarantee y’all didn’t make a child.”

While that didn’t phase one of the child’s mothers who says she’s used to hurtful comments like that, it upset the teenage hostess.

“She’s 16 years old. She’s been raised to accept people for who they are, being who they are, never judge people, you know?” said Smith. “For her to see that first hand -- she’s heard about it a lot, living in Columbus County -- for her to experience that first hand it really just hurt her feelings.”

Smith posted about the incident on Facebook, gaining a lot of attention from people concerned about how he’s representing first responders.

“Initially, I was stunned that he would say something like that because I’m prior law enforcement, so I actually worked side-by-side with him and his crew on multiple different occasions, “ said Smith. “Working alongside with him before working here, I was just really shocked that would come from him but I guess I didn’t know him initially.”

WECT was not able to verify other comments allegedly made by Worrell during the interaction.

Worrell reached out to the family Wednesday morning to apologize for the incident. In his message to Smith, he writes “Not going to fuss about who is right or wrong but I sincerely apologize for anything that upset you.”

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