How Isle of Palms is preparing for busy season after Friday shooting

Local law enforcement and businesses are sharing how they’re planning to move forward with the busy season after Friday’s shooting that left six people hurt.
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 5:48 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 10, 2023 at 8:50 PM EDT
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ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - Local law enforcement and businesses are sharing how they’re planning to move forward with the busy season after Friday’s shooting that left six people hurt on the Isle of Palms.

Authorities were working to get two fights on the beach under control when shots rang out. Six people were injured in that shooting, officials say. An 18-year-old and a juvenile have been arrested on firearm violation charges, but police say it is unclear whether either were involved in the actual shooting.

Serving a population of around 5,000 people, the Isle of Palms Police Department has 22 sworn police officers, making it difficult for the department to respond to the large presence displayed on Friday.

With the busy season around the corner, Isle of Palms Police Department Sgt. Matthew Storen says they always increase their response during the summertime, but now may be adding more after Friday’s shooting.

“Holidays, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day are our busiest times, and those holidays are all hands-on deck for us all our personnel are working, and we go to the sheriff’s office for outside help,” Storen says. “We coordinate with Sullivan’s Island with traffic, it’s a big group effort. So, we always monitor those situations.”

Once it was confirmed that two fights broke out among teenagers for senior skip day, some have questioned curfews for children under 18 years old on the beach and cracking down on fake ID usage.

“That’s more going to be what our elected officials are going to be looking into. We’re going to enforce all our laws and city ordinances as they are as we always do,” Storen says. “I think going forward though, our elected officials, that’s going to be something they’re looking into.”

After the shooting, we asked Isle of Palms restaurant Acme’s General Manager Shawn Sullenberger if they will prepare for this summer differently with a younger crowd.

“I mean, it’s a huge vacation spot and we’re always on guard for this kind of situation especially being in the hospitality industry,” Sullenberger says. “We kind of expect those kinds of things with the younger crowd we have an idea. We just have to do business as usual you know.”

After watching the shooting unfold on Friday, Acme wanted to show appreciation to law enforcement agencies by offering free meals to first responders all weekend long.

“It’s human nature to kind of run away when first responders are running toward that shots,” Sullenberger says. “We try to do as much as we can for them anyway and it’s a small community. We really appreciate what they do.”

Seventeen local and state agencies responded to the shooting, which the department says they were thankful for the quick response from surrounding agencies.

“We are a smaller agency, and we rely on our partner agencies, and that came into play Friday evening as we had agencies from all over the Tri County area,” Storen says. “That just shows how our strong partnerships work and when they’re needed and how they play out.”

Isle of Palms police also encouraged anyone with information to call the police department at 843-886-6522 or Lowcountry Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111 if wishing to remain anonymous.