MYRTLE BEACH — Bubba Hinson, the man who broadcast live video of a shooting on Ocean Boulevard in June, said Friday he stands by his actions that night in filming an incident where six people were sent to a hospital.
Hinson's Facebook video helped propel the melee on the iconic tourist thoroughfare into the national spotlight. It also made Hinson, a volunteer firefighter who was staying in a hotel on the boulevard, a target of criticism from Mayor John Rhodes.
In a Friday press conference, Hinson said he instructed a friend to call 911 as the shooting occurred.
"I did what I felt was right. ... I'm not a police officer. Any fire department is not going to enter a hostile scene until it's secured by law enforcement," Hinson said.
Rhodes, who is running for re-election, did not immediately return a phone message Friday. During an Oct. 26 debate, Rhodes argued that Hinson should have used his experience as a first-responder to render aid to victims of the shooting, rather than capturing the video.
"Those who want to destroy this beach with negative publicity are the ones who harm us more than anything," Rhodes said at the debate.
Hinson's video was viewed millions of times online and led to a rising tide of criticism that the city's police force was too small to deter crime in summer months when the population of the city swells with tourists. Gov. Henry McMaster announced within days of the shooting that he would offer whatever state resources were necessary to patrol the streets in Myrtle Beach for the rest of the summer.
Hinson spoke Friday at an event organized by mayoral candidate Ed Carey. Tom Herron, Carey's campaign manager, said a group of about 12 business owners are helping put up Hinson during the rest of his stay in Myrtle Beach, offering a free hotel room and meals at local restaurants to the Bethune native.
Carey denied that the press conference was a campaign event, insisting it was meant as an apology to a man who had shed light on crime in Myrtle Beach.
"I'm insulted by our mayor, what he said about this kid," Carey said.