Orangeburg Community Honors 6-Year-Old Gun Violence Victim Winston Hunter

The Orangeburg County community marks the two-year anniversary of 6-year-old Winston Hunter's death in a drive-by shooting with a parade to combat youth gun violence. Winston's mother, Courtney Hunter, has made it her mission to reduce youth gun violence in Orangeburg and across South Carolina.

author-image
Nitish Verma
New Update
Orangeburg Community Honors 6-Year-Old Gun Violence Victim Winston Hunter

Orangeburg Community Honors 6-Year-Old Gun Violence Victim Winston Hunter

Two years after the tragic death of 6-year-old Winston Hunter in a drive-by shooting, the Orangeburg County community continues to honor his memory and advocate for an end to youth gun violence. On Monday, they will mark the somber anniversary with the annual "Through the Eyes of Winston Stop the Gun Violence" parade, organized by Winston's mother, Courtney Hunter.

Winston was watching TV inside his home on February 27, 2022, when two men fired more than 20 bullets into the Hunter family residence, killing the young boy. The senseless act of violence shocked the community and galvanized efforts to address the growing problem of gun violence involving youth. "Gun violence don't effect just the families, we feel the pain. But also the surrounding communities feel the pain too," emphasized Courtney Hunter.

Why this matters: The alarming rise in gun violence involving youth has devastating consequences for communities, leading to a culture of fear and mistrust. Addressing this issue is crucial to ensure the safety and well-being of future generations.

Since the tragedy, Courtney Hunter has made it her mission to reduce youth gun violence in Orangeburg and across South Carolina. She wants to convey to children the futility of turning to firearms, stating, "I want these children to understand to put these guns down, because, it's senseless, it does not solve a problem. It creates more issues." The annual parade serves as a platform to bring the community together, educate them about the devastating effects of gun violence, and promote unity.

Hunter has collaborated with various groups, including Midlands be SMART, school districts, law enforcement agencies, and hospital systems, to organize the event. Merie Mirosavich from Midlands be SMART highlighted their outreach efforts, saying, "We are coming to the community wherever we can, we work with our school districts, we work with law enforcement, we work with our hospital systems."

The urgency of addressing gun violence is underscored by the latest crime statistics. According to SLED's 2022 crime report, the weapon law violation rate in South Carolina has increased each of the last nine years, with a staggering 89% of incidents involving firearms. The report serves as a stark reminder of the need for concerted efforts to curb gun violence and protect vulnerable youth.

In a recent development, the two men responsible for Winston Hunter's murder, Ethan Anderson and Jerimiah Harley, pleaded guilty and were sentenced to life in prison last month. While the convictions bring a measure of justice, the pain and loss endured by the Hunter family and the Orangeburg community remain. As Courtney Hunter poignantly expressed, "Bringing the community together to let them know that we can get along together, bringing the community together to let them know as Winston would say, let everyone be nice, and his dream was for everyone to be nice."

Key Takeaways

  • Orangeburg County community marks 2nd anniversary of 6-year-old Winston Hunter's death in a drive-by shooting.
  • Annual "Through the Eyes of Winston Stop the Gun Violence" parade aims to raise awareness and promote unity.
  • Gun violence involving youth has devastating consequences, leading to a culture of fear and mistrust.
  • Winston's mother, Courtney Hunter, collaborates with local groups to educate and promote non-violence.
  • Two men responsible for Winston's murder pleaded guilty and were sentenced to life in prison.