MYRTLE BEACH - The mother of a Summerville woman who was one of three people shot and killed Saturday in Myrtle Beach was struggling to come to grips with her daughter's death Sunday evening, family members said.
Family and friends of Sandy "Trice" Geddis Barnwell were gathered at the Summerville home of her mother, Vernia "Stephanie" Geddis, Sunday evening to remember Barnwell. Melody Geddis McFadden, said her sister, Vernia Geddis, was "in shock" over the death of her daughter.
Barnwell, 22, was one of three people killed in a shooting at an oceanfront motel in Myrtle Beach. A fourth person was wounded in the incident.
The victims were Devonte Dantzler, 21, of Summerville; Jamie Williams, 28, of Ladson; and Sandy Geddis Barnwell, 22, of Summerville, said Horry County deputy coroner Darris Fowler.
The shootings took place around 11 p.m. Saturday in front of crowds of tourists at the Bermuda Sands Motel along the beach's new boardwalk, Myrtle Beach Police Capt. David Knipes said.
Officers draped towels over the balcony of a breezeway just outside the doors to the rooms of the motel to shield two of the bodies from people on nearby Ocean Boulevard.
"We've got detectives working on it around the clock," Knipes said Sunday. "We don't have any suspects in custody."
Knipes would not say whether detectives have determined a motive for the shooting, but said it didn't appear to be a random shooting.
Witnesses and police said the shootings happened when a large fight broke out in front of the motel.
Police said one gunman fired three shots, wounding a man. He was hospitalized, but his condition wasn't immediately available.
The people involved in the fight then fled into the hotel onto the second floor, police said.
As officers were tending to the wounded man, a second suspect on the second floor fired multiple shots at people involved in the fight, striking and killing three.
"We had just come up the stairs when the guy got shot. My husband saw when he fell right in front of our room," said Megan Sloan, who lives in Salisbury, North Carolina, and was on vacation.
A police officer quickly knocked on their door and asked Sloan and her husband to stay in their room. They didn't realize until Sunday morning that three people had died.
The couple wanted to change motels for their last day in Myrtle Beach.
"It scared me to death. We tried to get our money back, but they wouldn't give it back," Sloan said.
McFadden said Barnwell and some friends had planned a day trip to Myrtle Beach and were supposed to return home Saturday night. Some family members said they believed the group Barnwell was with was antagonized by another group of people before the situation turned deadly.
"She was an innocent person," McFadden said of her niece. "She is gone too soon."
The shooting happened during the annual Atlantic Beach BikeFest held about 15 miles away during the Memorial Day weekend. Police say they typically deal with motorcycle wrecks and lesser offenses during the bike rally, but violence is unusual.
Knipes said Myrtle Beach had just two homicides in all of 2013.
Post and Courier reporter Amanda Kerr contributed to this report.
Myrtle Beach Police investigate where two bodies are behind the sheets on the walkway that's over a water park in front of the Bermuda Sands Resort late Saturday, May 24, 2014. Police report three people were killed and one was injured late Saturday. (AP Photo/The Sun News, Janet Blackmon Morgan)×
A man is handcuffed as he talks to police at the scene of a Myrtle Beach shooting that left three Lowcountry residents dead at Bermuda Sands Resort late Saturday.×
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