Man accused of killing 3 family members, including Atlantic Beach town councilman, chief says
HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – A 25-year-old man is accused of shooting and killing three of his family members in Richland and Horry counties.
Matthew Dewitt was taken into custody after a search warrant was executed in Atlantic Beach on Monday afternoon. It led to a heavy police presence and streets being closed off. The suspect was taken into custody at Dewitt Apartments.
Horry County police said they were called to a home around 4:40 p.m. Sunday in the 4000 block of Highway 319 outside of Conway, where 52-year-old Natasha Stevens’ body was discovered. An investigation determined her death was a homicide. The coroner’s office believes Stevens died earlier in the day.
Then around 7 p.m. Sunday, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department responded to a home in the 400 block of Greensprings Drive for a welfare check. Deputies found two people dead with apparent gunshot wounds. The Richland County Coroner’s Office identified the victims as Gloria Dewitt and James Dewitt II, both 52, of Columbia.
Atlantic Beach Police Chief Quentin Robinson confirmed James Dewitt was an Atlantic Beach town councilman. Robinson said James Dewitt had been on the town council for about a year and was very active in the community. Robinson added the councilman split his time between Atlantic Beach and Columbia.
Two communities are stunned after learning about the killings.
“I am in shock and in disbelief. I just can’t believe it,” said William Armstrong.
Armstrong said the councilman was a pillar of the community and had strong ties.
“He was young, energetic, and positive. He had a positive outlook on Atlantic Beach and loved Atlantic Beach,” he said.
Meanwhile, many in Richland County are mourning.
“I am so hurt, I’m so hurt,” said Estelle Bouttry.
It’s not clear at this time how everyone is related and a motive has not been released.
Investigators with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the Horry County Police Department are working together on the investigation which remains ongoing.
The agencies added they believe Matthew Dewitt acted alone and there is no danger to the public.
Check back with WMBF News for more on this developing story.
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