Posted on Nov 28, 2023

Scene of fatal shooting at Barfield's Bar and Grille in Myrtle Beach, SCOn Wednesday, October 18, 2023, a shooting occurred at Barfield’s Bar & Grille located on Frontage Road in Horry County at around 2:30am. Reports suggest that a fight broke out outside of the bar just before the shooting occurred.

As a result, 24-year-old Kvon Lawthorn, a Myrtle Beach native, was charged with the murder of 23-year-old Starquan Washington of Longs. Lawthorn allegedly shot another individual, but that person did not suffer fatal injuries.

Barfield’s Bar & Grille Closing

Soon after the shooting, the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) sought to suspend Barfield’s beer and liquor license due to apparent risks at the bar and the string of violent incidents that occurred and the deadly shooting on October 18, 2023. Investigation after the deadly incident apparently uncovered a video showing a bartender at Barfield’s pulling a gun from his waistband and giving it to the shooter, Lawthorn. Shortly thereafter, the shooter shot the two victims.

On Tuesday, November 7, 2023, Barfield’s Bar & Grille announced on Facebook that they would be closing down the bar.

Pursuing a Negligent Security Claim After a Shooting at a Bar in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

When violence shatters the night at a bar or restaurant like Barfield’s Bar & Grille in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, most people focus on the criminal side of the case. Namely, they place all the blame on the person that pulled the trigger. However, sometimes, criminals choose certain places to commit a crime because that place has weak security measures in place. In other words, some businesses attract crime.

common issues in negligent security cases infographicUnder South Carolina law, businesses that allow crime or attract crime to the property and fail to implement reasonable security measures can be held liable for injuries when a person gets violently attacked as a result. Thus, shooting victims sometimes have the right to pursue a civil claim for money damages, even though criminal actions are already being brought against the shooter.

Let's walk through the actionable steps to pursue justice and compensation after getting shot at an unsafe bar or restaurant in South Carolina:

  1. Immediate Response: Always contact the authorities after a shooting at a bar in South Carolina. Police reports provide a written record of what happened, who was involved, and when it happened, and this can be useful later on if you decide to pursue a claim.
  2. Medical Care: Obviously, when you get injured in a violent criminal attack, you’ll need medical help. Early medical treatment can help you recover fast, and medical records can be a good source of evidence in your injury claim,
  3. Evidence Collection: Collect any available evidence that could support your claim. This could involve pulling out your phone and taking photos or videos of the scene, or you can get someone else to help you with this. You should also get the names of any potential witnesses that can corroborate your version of the events.
  4. Legal Consultation: Time is of the essence because you only have 3 years to file a claim in South Carolina. Thus, you should contact a negligent security attorney right away. We offer free legal consultations, so a call is no risk to you.
  5. Put the Insurance Company on Notice: Right away, we like to send out letters of representation to let the property owner and insurance company know that we’re on the case. We also like to send out letters of preservation or “spoliation letters” to make sure valuable evidence, like video camera footage, isn’t “lost” or destroyed.
  6. Investigative Process: Your attorney will thoroughly investigate the claim, a process that may involve interviewing witnesses, gathering surveillance footage, or examining the bar’s history of incidents. In our experience, a lot of shootings that happen at bars and restaurants aren’t the first incidents of that type. In other words, these places often have a history of violent incidents, which can further increase the property owner’s duty to implement security measures to protect guests.
  7. Filing the Lawsuit: Although many cases will settle before a lawsuit is filed, sometimes it’s necessary to file a lawsuit to get the evidence needed to build a good case and find out what happened.
  8. Negotiation: Many bar shooting cases don’t go to trial but instead are settled through negotiations. Your attorney will know how to deal with the insurance company and defense team on the other side to get the proper value out of your case.
  9. Trial Preparation: Sometimes, there’s no choice but to proceed to trial when the other side refuses to be reasonable. In these situations, your attorney will prepare a compelling case and work to effectively tell your story to a jury.

Insurance companies want to pay as little money as possible, and they’ll fight for every dollar. Accordingly, having a lawyer by your side that handles negligent security cases can help you to get what you’re entitled to under South Carolina law.