Deputies arrested a 17-year-old with a revolver, dealt with a gang-related disturbance and nabbed eight other people during the 11-day Coastal Carolina Fair, according to data released Friday.
The number of arrests is on par with past years’ statistics and paltry considering the Ladson event attracts tens of thousands of revelers daily, a sheriff’s official said.
Not among them was the person who stabbed an 18-year-old man during a brawl on the fair’s final Saturday night, when more than 59,000 people attended. Investigators have no leads in the attack that left David Jackson of West Ashley with two minor stab wounds.
Maj. Jim Brady of the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office said Jackson, who has one arrest in his past, was not fully cooperating with detectives.
Brady and fair organizers have defended their security efforts at the fair as adequate, though they have vowed to discuss whether any changes should be made. They declined to release how many deputies were working off-duty details there.
In 911 calls on the night of the stabbing, two callers complained of a lack of police presence.
One man called after the fight broke out the night of Nov. 3 near the Crazy Mouse roller coaster.
“These people were fighting and just acting crazy,” he told a dispatcher. “I know there are cops out here, but I don’t see any.”
A woman also called 911 after she said teenagers cut in front of her in the line for the ride and threatened to hurt her if she told the authorities about it. She informed deputies, she said, but they refused to help her because someone was “going around stabbing people.”
“I am with my kids waiting in one line for three and a half hours, and there are several teenagers cutting in line,” she said. “I’ve paid my money just like everybody else did.
“I’ve got to prove a point.”
Cutting in line is a typical problem, but one that deputies try to address in order to defuse arguments, Brady said. He added that deputies got to the scene of the stabbing within two minutes.
Minutes after the brawl that involved at least 15 people, deputies reported arresting 17-year-old Jermaine Bunch Jr. of Ladson in connection with a fight near the ticket booths and finding a .357 Magnum Ruger in his waistband. The revolver had been stolen. They also made four drug arrests at the fairgrounds off U.S. Highway 78.
In a disturbance on the fair’s first Saturday night, six youngsters yelled “snitch” at a 15-year-old girl while one started “throwing up Black Jack gang signs,” a reference to the group that the six belong to. None of them were arrested.
Witnesses reported that gangs might have been involved in the fight that led to the stabbing, though authorities couldn’t confirm that. A fight at the fair in 2004 that resulted in a death reportedly had been stoked by a gang dispute.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
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