Five arrested in teen’s parking-lot slaying

Jalin Tremaine Mullins.

Jacques Daquan Mullins.

Correl E. Littles.

Qiabeon R. James.

Darius Anthony Mack.

The crime scene, off Governor Williams Highway, on Feb. 12. PHOTO BY BOBBY BRYANT

Darlington Police Chief Kelvin Washington during his Friday press conference at City Hall. PHOTO BY BOBBY BRYANT

Darlington Mayor Curtis Boyd (left) and City Councilwoman Elaine Reed (right). PHOTO BY BOBBY BRYANT

By Bobby Bryant, Editor

Five Darlington residents have been arrested in the Feb. 12 Darlington parking-lot brawl that resulted in the death of a Hartsville teenager, and city officials vow a crackdown on crime. Jalin Tremaine Mullins, 20, of 100 East Ave., Darlington, has been charged with murder, attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime in the death of Kwelik Bacote, 17. Bacote was shot in the parking lot of a small business plaza off Governor Williams Highway during a fight involving at least six people, Darlington Police Chief Kelvin Washington said at a Friday news conference. Also arrested in the incident, Washington said, are: — Correl E. Littles, 18, of 118 Lee St., Darlington. He is charged with two counts of attempted murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and assault by mob, 3rd degree. — Jacques Daquan Mullins, 19, of 1520 Bastion Boulevard, Darlington. He is charged with assault by mob, 3rd degree. — Qiabeon Rynal James, 21, of 205 Woodhaven Drive, Darlington. He is charged with assault by mob, 3rd degree. — Darius A. Mack, 22, of 2115 Jones Road, Darlington. He is charged with assault by mob, 3rd degree. (By Friday afternoon, all five suspects except Jalin Tremaine Mullins had been released from jail on bond. A judge denied bond for Mullins.) The incident took place about 4 p.m. in one of the busiest parts of town near Friday-afternoon rush hour. A large crowd gathered once police arrived and roped off the parking lot with crime-scene tape. Family members of the victim arrived at the scene quickly, some of them weeping, hugging each other and making frantic cell-phone calls. “During our investigation,” Washington said, “it was found that a group of young males had gotten into a physical altercation. During this altercation, gunfire was exchanged between those two groups.” Another person was shot in the leg during the fight, Washington said – a detail that law enforcement had not previously revealed. “This investigation is ongoing,” Washington said. “There could be possibly other arrests.” Washington noted that much of the Pee Dee has seen an uptick in shootings in recent weeks. “Our agency, along with the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff (James) Hudson, as well as some of the other police departments in the area and sheriff’s offices in the area, have experienced quite a few shootings across the Pee Dee area over the past month or two,” Washington said. “I’m here today to let you know that we are all committed to making sure that our communities are safe and that they remain safe, and we’re going to do whatever we have to do in order to make sure that these folks are arrested and these folks are brought to justice,” he said. “This kind of behavior is not going to be tolerated in our communities. And if individuals are going to participate in this kind of behavior, then they need to expect for us to investigate these cases, track them down, arrest them and put them in jail,” Washington said. “We’re not going to have this kind of behavior throughout our community.” Asked if he believed all or most of the recent shootings in the area are connected, Washington declined to answer. Asked if he believed gangs are responsible, he said: “I believe that yes, some of this is gang-related. But these gangs that we’re dealing with now are not the traditional gangs that we’ve seen across the country, like the Bloods and the Crips.” “Most of these gangs that we’re dealing with today are more associated with the communities that they live in or the communities that they grew up in,” the chief said. “From that standpoint, if you want to say that it’s a gang because you’ve got a group of individuals from a particular geographical area that are participating in criminal activity, then yes, we can concede that point.” “It appears that we’ve got children having temper tantrums with guns,” Washington said. “That’s it in a nutshell. You’ve got children having temper tantrums with guns.” “I don’t think they realize the seriousness of taking someone’s life,” he said. “I don’t think they realize that this is not a television show.” Darlington Mayor Curtis Boyd and City Council member Elaine Reed spoke to the media after Washington concluded his comments. “I send out the deepest apologies to the family of the victim, to the family that lost their son,” Boyd said. “I can give you the ultimate problem” spurring all this violence, Boyd said: “It’s the lack of Jesus Christ in their hearts. Satan is alive and well and running rapidly in our cities and towns.” Boyd said the solution starts with the family, the schools, and better adult supervision of young people. “If you’re out there, and you’re watching, and someone’s feeding you a lie, telling you there’s a fast way to make a dollar and crime is the way to go, turn from it,” Boyd said. The city of Darlington will have “zero tolerance” for crime, Boyd said. “If you’re thinking about coming to Darlington and causing issues, we’ll send you out. … We’re not going to play.” Council member Reed cited “the breakdown of the family … and until we get all our citizens involved with their children … then we have to work with the community at that level to be sure that some of these things get stopped..”

Author: Stephan Drew

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