Fatal shooting at Surfside Beach party kills young father

April 9, 2012 2:29:33 PM PDT
The search is on for the gunman who shot and killed a man during a massive party at Surfside Beach this weekend.

It was supposed to be a fun day in the sun. Thousands turned out for the massive party on Saturday, which had been promoted through Facebook and Twitter. But the fun ended quickly after someone opened fire, leaving one person dead and two others injured.

The beaches of Surfside were quiet Monday, with no sign of the raucous party and shooting that overwhelmed this community on Saturday night. Aubrey Tucker watched it unfold in front of his home.

He said, "We knew there was going to be a gathering, but we didn't realize it was going to be such a big crowd."

Surfside police estimate at least 10,000 people crammed into the beaches, and three people were shot. Derrick Milam, 26, was shot on the beach and died in his best friend's arms.

"There was nothing we could do for him, we felt helpless," said Davion Marshall. "He just laid there and bled."

The two other victims will recover, but what's most frustrating for Surfside police is that they have no firm leads.

"They were all running all different directions, after the shooting or whatever," said Surfside Police Chief Gary Phillips. "We weren't able to get there in a timely manner due to the fact of the parking situation and the crowded beach with everybody trying to leave."

Surfside's police chief says he and other local authorities were aware of the possible beach party last Thursday, just two days before the event. He had every available officer on duty. Even sheriff's deputies were on hand. But with just about a dozen or so law enforcement, and more than 10,000 revelers, they simply couldn't handle the crowd.

Chief Phillips said, "They need to find a larger area or a more suitable area if they are going to have large parties and gatherings like that."

Police say what makes this difficult to control is that they would require permits for any sort of large gatherings along the beach. But no permits were requested so they shut a lot of the activities down early. When thousands of people ended up there, they had simply no place to go.


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