Officials push to close A-1 Food Store after N. Charleston shooting

Charleston County Dispatch has responded to 430 911 calls at the A-1 Food Store, located at 4016 Dorchester Road, since 2021.
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 11:09 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 11, 2023 at 1:49 PM EDT

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After a recent shooting in North Charleston left one person dead and three others injured, leaders in the Lowcountry and throughout the state say the A-1 Food Store has been the hub for crime in the area for years.

Officers were called to the 4100 block of Dorchester Road to a report of multiple people wounded by gunfire Thursday night. Armien Jones Jr., 19, died at the scene of the shooting, according to the Charleston County Coroner’s Office.

Charleston County Dispatch has responded to 430 911 calls at the A-1 Food Store, located at 4016 Dorchester Road, since 2021.

Those calls vary from trespassing and traffic stops to drugs sales and assaults, records state.

“I had someone from the community reach out to me on June 22 of last year, and she said, ‘Elvin, someone just got shot in front of A-1. She reached out again to me last night and she said, ‘Elvin, someone just got shot at A-1 again,” North Charleston Community Advocate Elvin Speights says.

“I told her, ‘you know our last conversation with a year ago at this exact same location with someone had just been killed before, that’s ridiculous,” Speights says.

Inside of the store, coolers are filled with different alcoholic beverages, which North Charleston City Councilman Jerome Heyward, says creates an atmosphere for violence.

“It’s a continuous pattern of hanging out, every day you pass through here and there’s always 10 to 15 individuals standing in front of the store, which could not be good for any business,” Heyward says. “And then, the amount of service calls, it’s a high amount. So, it’s a problem.”

Meanwhile, Charleston County Rep. Wendell Gilliard is taking the fight to end gun violence to the state house by requesting a special session.

This is his third attempt at getting Gov. Henry McMaster to call the special session

“We have to deal with gun violence head on. Nobody should be coming to South Carolina and not mentioning gun violence, I don’t care who you are,” Gilliard says. “We got to deal with these issues, and they are solutions.”

As well as state and local officials asking for harsher penalties when it comes to bond.

“The problem we have, we got approximately 27 young men that terrorize the Lowcountry, and for some reason, they keep getting bonded out in jail over and over and over again,” Heyward says.

A community event is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. at the food store to address violence in North Charleston.

“What are we not doing? It’s off a busy highway, I don’t know,” Speights says. “What are we doing wrong?”