When police and community work together, all benefit
The arrests of four men in connection with the murder of 17-year-old Marley Lion is a credit to good police work and to the citizens who supplied information to assist them. The community’s sense of relief is palpable.
Charleston city police made the arrests during a Monday sweep of the Ardmore neighborhood adjacent to the parking lot on Savannah Highway where Mr. Lion was shot to death on June 16 around 4 a.m.
The murder was captured on a nearby surveillance camera, and the federal Secret Service and the U.S. Marshals Service were enlisted to help analyze it. The Marshals Service also participated in Monday’s sweep of Ardmore.
Key to the arrests was a tip that a buyer was being sought in the area for a handgun. Police obtained the weapon in an undercover operation and determined that it was, in fact, the pistol used in the shooting.
Some 30 tips were received by Crime Stoppers of the Lowcountry. Additional information was provided police through other avenues.
On our letters to the editor page today, Geoff Waggoner, a Crime Stoppers advocate, describes how the system works. This case underscores its importance in a fundamental way. Crime Stopppers offered a $1,000 reward, supplemented by thousands more from Mr. Lion’s family and the public, for information leading to an arrest.
The weeks’ long effort to solve the crime also led to a citywide initiative, “Stand Up Charleston,” to enlist residents to report suspicious circumstances possibly related to pending criminal activity, as well as information about crimes that have been committed.
“The appeal to the community worked,” Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said. “The public wants to help.”
Mr. Lion, a recent graduate of Academic Magnet High School, was headed to Clemson in the fall to study Mandarin Chinese and international trade. He was remembered on Sunday by family and friends at a music festival honoring him at James Island County Park.
As police swept across Ardmore on Monday making arrests and gathering evidence, some residents applauded their efforts. “It’s a good thing,” one man said. “They need to weed out the bad apples.”
In comments to our reporter on June 18, Academic Magnet High Principal Judith Peterson described how Marley Lion’s classmates were struggling to come to terms with his murder, saying, “The senselessness of it has raised the desire to make a difference, to make West Ashley a safer place for all children.”
The heightened engagement of local residents will help make a difference. So, too, should these arrests.