By DEUCE NIVEN
A recent graduate from South Columbus High School was killed in what Horry County Police are calling a “traffic-related shooting incident” east of Loris early Saturday.
Rashawn D. Smith, 18, of Tabor City, was being mourned on multiple social media pages Saturday, by family and friends, as police continued their investigation. Horry County Deputy Coroner Chris Dontell released Smith’s name late Saturday afternoon.
Smith was the only person killed in the incident, Dontell said. An autopsy was scheduled for Sunday.
Mikayla Moskov, HCPD spokeswoman, said the place took place early Saturday on Hwy 9 near Log Cabin Road, Moskov said.
Reported initially as an auto crash, police learned there was more when a passing motorist reported bullet holes in the vehicle, The Sun News reported.
Police found the teen dead inside the car with a gunshot wound.
Police closed Hwy 9 in both directions for hours, re-opening the busy highway about 9:30 a.m.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the HCPD at 843-915-8477.
‘Lot of life to live’
Smith finished his high school studies in December, with enough credits for an early graduation, South Columbus High Principal Adam Thompson said.
He had played soccer and been part of the track team at South Columbus, and planned to march with his class at commencement later this year.
“Most everybody seemed to like him,” Thompson said of Smith. “This will be tough on the kids.”
Counselors will be on campus Monday, Thompson said, “in case any students need to talk to somebody. We’ll take care of their needs first.”
Counselors for faculty and staff will also have counseling available. One staff member, custodian Luberta Hunter, was Smith’s aunt with an especially close bond.
“She was kind of like his guardian,” Thompson said of Hunter.
Smith “was known for his dazzling smile and kindness,” South Columbus High 2020 Class President Caroline Grace Garland said Saturday.
“Rashawn was well thought of by his community and classmates,” Garland said. “There is such a shadow of mourning over ours hearts today.
“Rashawn was full of life and made everyone laugh. When he stepped on to the track to complete, he would transform into a determined competitive athlete.”
Look for more on this story as events warrant and in the next Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.