N. Chas. police chief hits the streets in anti-violence march after deadly shooting

North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess (left) and Pastor Michelle Smalls of Restoration Holiness Church participate in an anti-violence march after the latest shooting death in North Charleston. (WCIV)

The coroner has identified the victim of this week’s second deadly shooting in North Charleston.

Damon Middleton, 23, was pronounced dead at the scene of yesterday’s incident on West Surry Drive.

For the fifth time this year, North Charleston’s Chief of Police Reggie Burgess is showing up at the scene of a deadly shooting.

Preventing deadly crime is what he promised to do when he was sworn-in on Jan. 11. He is again taking to the streets to lead an anti-violence march to prevent deadly crime.

Walking along busy Dorchester Road on Friday, Burgess carries a serious message: He and others are reminding drivers and neighbors about their mission to end violence in the streets.

“We put in the work. And when they see you out there knocking on doors, talking to them, giving cards, giving them case numbers they say, ‘hey, these guys really care about us.’ It’s not a color thing. It’s a people thing,’” Burgess said.

The chief’s latest anti-violence walk took place less than 24 hours after a Middleton was shot to death on nearby West Surry Drive.

An electronic sign reveals the name of the victim. Burgess said he’s spoken to Middleton’s mother.

"This is one way to let her know that not only does the police come out here when an incident occurs, we investigate it. We process the crime scene, and then we try to bring the perpetrator to jail," Burgess said.

Pastor Michelle Smalls of Restoration Holiness Church, says she joined the march after seeing officers deal with another deadly act.

"He is a real great chief of police and we have to back him up," Smalls said. "You know, we’re just tired of the violence. I just don't want to see young people getting themselves killed over selfish, foolish things that doesn't have any meaning to it."

For North Charleston police, it’s an effort to heal the wounds of violence in Dorchester Terrace and other neighborhoods.

"The problems don't occur in my office at City Hall. They are here in the streets. And this is where I need to be,” Burgess said.

So far, no arrests have been made in the death of Damon Middleton.

In the next couple of weeks, city leaders will open a new basketball court and playground in nearby Dorchester-Waylan.

They hope it will give young people a safe place to spend the summer.

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