Upon entering the bank, the three men brandished their firearms and fied them inside the Bank building. No injuries were reported. After leaving with cash inside bags the trio left the bank but a bank bag exploded with dye inside it and was discarded outside the bank. Officers arrived on the scene and began chasing suspects immediately on US 17.
Suspects fired shots at the officers during the pursuit, but officers did not return fire. Other agencies were called in to assist with the search for the robbers in the woods.
Prosecuting attorney Scott Hickson said the terror that unfolded around the incident Wednesday and the suspects’ behavior “indicated extreme indifference to human life and posed a danger to our community.”
The three suspects fires weapons into vehicles, homes and at officers without regard to anyone in their path.
“When I looked at the gun, it was directly at me,” Melvin Fields, who lives in Barefoot Resort, told WMBF.
Fields said he thinks the bullets went straight through the inside of his car because his windows were rolled down. None of the bullets hit his car or him.
“They were shooting at people randomly to get away. Anything they could stop,” he said. “There was a car directly in front of me after I got to that intersection that already had its tires shot and had been shot at.”
“It was a little scary, but thankfully nobody was hurt,” Brian Mahlert said at his home on Grovecrest Circle where a round shattered a window above his back door.
Suspects also fired shots at North Myrtle Beach police Lt. Tommy Dennis’ patrol vehicle as he attempted to deploy stop sticks.
Riverside Elementary, located at 1283 Hwy 57 S, was on lock down for a short period, according to school principal Vicki Underwood, as police searched for the robbers.
Pressley was captured about 1:30 p.m. in the wooded area of Long Bay Road and Kerchies Road. Hardiman was found in an abandoned residence in the vicinity about 6:30 p.m. Berklery was apprehended in the woods just south of Long Bay Road and west of Watertower Road about 9 p.m.
Officers remained at the Bank to secure and process the scene
“It was just nice seeing everyone being so resilient and having such a strong spirit,” a customer, Jennifer Feeney, said. “It was like having church,” she said of being inside the bank. “Everyone is just rejoicing, and thankful just for the officers.”
Each suspect is charged with criminal conspiracy, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, pointing or presenting a firearm, two counts of assault and battery in the first degree, kidnapping, wearing a mask to conceal their identity, bank robbery, discharging a firearm into a building, discharging a firearm into a vehicle, failure to stop for a blue light and two counts of attempted murder.
Pressley also faces a charge of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
Berklery questioned the kidnapping charge and asked the judge if it wasn’t a natural reaction to run from police who are chasing you, adding that he was hypothetically speaking.
“I don’t know if it’s natural or not, but it’s not natural to me,” said Judge Blake Martin. He added that anyone being pursued should always stop and comply with police and work out the questions of fairness regarding that stop in court.
All there suspects were held without bail.
North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety made three posts on their Facebook page: the first being:
Thank you to our dedicated and hard working DPS personnel working today and those who who were called in from their off duty time to assist.
Thank you to our Law Enforcement, Fire Rescue, Communications and Support Services Divisions for showing how teamwork can get the job done.
Thank you to Horry County Police, Sheriff, Fire Rescue, E-911 as well as Myrtle Beach Police, SLED, SCHP, SCDNR, local FBI agents, DEU agents and other personnel/agencies who stepped up to assist today.
Thank you to the citizens of North Myrtle Beach and those who reside in the areas affected between Water Tower Rd and Hwy 90 for the patience and understanding as they were blocked from access to many local roads during today’s events.
Tonight we are most Thankful that all Suspects were taken into custody without any injuries resulting to Public Safety Personnel, Civilians, or the Suspects themselves.
It has been a long day but we can all rest easier tonight thanks to all those who played a part today.
So again, THANK YOU………
The second post that the Department made was ragarding their Officers stating:
Lastly a message to the piblic as well as to other officers regarindg the dangers of the work performed.
We appreciate all the words of encouragement and support from those who follow our Department’s page here.
The two pictures below provide a clear example of the dangers of our profession as well as the payoff of utilizing the proper training and discipline even in the most stressful and intense of situations.
Our Officers demonstrated professionalism to the highest degree and because of that they were able to go home to their families unharmed at the end of their extended work day yesterday.