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NORTH – Discharging firearms in the town limits is illegal and dangerous, North Police Chief Lin Shirer said at North Town Council's March 12 meeting, adding that a church worker was recently shot in the back.

“We did have somebody from out of town get shot in the back while he was going door to door with his church," Shirer said. "We think it was a stray bullet, and we are doing some investigating.”

The gunshot victim was seriously injured, the police chief said.

“He was 67 years old going to do his work (for the church) and was shot in the back,” he said.

While he was working on Saturday, he heard at least 15 to 16 gunshots, Shirer said. He said he investigated to try to determine where the gunshots had originated.

“We want people to know it’s illegal and dangerous to shoot firearms in the town. Don’t shoot guns in town," the police chief said.

In total, North officers handled 24 calls related to a variety of crimes in February, including vehicle break-ins, he reported. In one case, a vehicle's window was broken out and a woman's purse was stolen from the front seat, Shirer said.

“All your valuables should be taken inside or put in your trunk,” he said.

In other business:

  • Mayor Patty Carson reported she and Councilman Jeff Washington applied for a Parks and Recreation grant to fix up the basketball courts on the north side of town. She said the town is going to repave and paint the courts and possibly put up new nets.
  • Councilman Julius Jones reported Orangeburg County officials are not sure the county can cut brush along the railroad tracks in North, which is something the town wants done. Jones said he contacted County Councilman Heyward Livingston in hopes of getting some assistance with this.
  • Councilwoman Deborah Cook reported she attended a health seminar in North Charleston that emphasized eating healthy fruits and vegetables. The coordinator of the seminar said there could be great potential for a fruit and vegetable stand in the North area, Cook said. She said such a potential business may be opening in North and she wants to see how well it does.
  • Jones and Cook agreed to coordinate a litter cleanup in North. Those interested in assisting in the cleanup are asked to contact town hall. 

Also at Monday's meeting, Carson refused to allow public comments, saying those who had signed up to speak on the Friday prior to the meeting wanted to talk about items that were "not on topic" and failed to meet the guidelines on addressing council.

According to the mayor, those who signed up did not plan to address items on the current agenda nor items under consideration from previous council meetings as stipulated in the guidelines.

According to the Guidelines for Citizen Participation at North Town Council meetings, which went into effect March 14, 2016, “Persons may comment only on the following: Items on the current meeting agenda (and) items under consideration from previous council meetings.”

The guidelines stipulate that individuals desiring to comment on items other than those listed on the current meeting agenda or items from previous meetings "may so do by submitting a written request to the town clerk, and (and those requests) can be scheduled as a specific agenda item at a future meeting.”

Carson said none of those who signed up to make public comments at the March 12 meeting complied with the guidelines and one person who signed up did not list the topic about which they wanted to talk.

Resident Wanda Whetstone failed to sign up to address council prior to the deadline for making such requests, the mayor said. Since the agenda had already been printed, Whetstone will have to wait until the April meeting to address council, Carson said.

Following Monday night's meeting, Whetstone said, “I took a letter of request at 12:40 p.m. on Friday (March 9) before the town hall closed at 1 p.m. On Friday, I brought the letter to the town hall to be put on the agenda for tonight."

“I was told that I needed to submit a letter the Friday before the meeting to be placed on the agenda, and I did that,” she added.

Council approved a motion by Carson to adjourn the March 12 meeting without allowing public comments.

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