Top Charleston Stories of 2015

The prominent Mayor Riley
The prominent Mayor Riley

“This hateful person came to this community with some crazy idea that he would be able to divide, and all he did was make us more united, and love each other even more.” – Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley

Emanuel AME Shooting – Charleston is a city that has fought for decades to destroy the racial tensions that have divided this city and region. On the evening of June 17, 2015, this city took a giant step backward in our pursuit of unification and community acceptance when one man executed an act so heinous, without regard for human life that the entire world took notice. For the Summer of 2015, Charleston became the center of gun control and racial tension. In the heart of darkness, we found each other. Without regard of background or race, we bound together to show the world we will overcome and remain Charleston Strong. As the media built cases for gun control, dissected the mind of this killer and looked for answers to how this could happen, Charleston become a city that stood hand in hand and showed the power that love has over terror.

Surviving the flood

1000 Year Flood – The weekend of October 3, shook Charleston and South Carolina. A wave of rain that for many was unprecedented took control of our area and left us captive in our homes. For thousands, their homes stood nearly underwater. Property lost, memories destroyed, waves at record levels and no answers that could put so many at ease. With around the clock news coverage, volunteers in every city and town, and post event relief efforts from all around the country, we all lived through a moment of weakness, where once again, we were forced to rebuild; property and lives. Marshes became oceans, neighborhoods became lakes and for many, the only option was to wait and pray.

Walter Scott Shooting – On April 4, 2015, Walter Scott, a black suspect was shot and killed by North Charleston Patrolman 1st Class Michael Thomas Slager, a white police officer. What made this event so spectacular is that it was captured on video and what was witnessed was a scared man brutally shot to death. A picture tells a thousand words, a video a million. No one will know exactly what all the circumstances were that led to this merciless death. In the spring of 2015, Charleston was center of national media attention, highlighting the evident racial concerns that still brew in this area. This event happened just days before the 150th anniversary of the end of the US Civil War.

Caitlyn The Dog – Just named by People Magazine as the Best Survival Story of 2015, Caitlyn become the post dog for animal cruelty prevention and awareness. Her story and the images of her treatment sent shivers down our spines and had the entire country routing for one precious dog. After many successful surgeries and a new and loving home, Caitlyn, runs and barks and shows incredible love and compassion for all that come to meet her.

Caitlyn is happy overlooking the water

Mayor Riley Steps Down As Mayor of Charleston – After 40 years as mayor and 47 years as a public servant in South Carolina, the honorable Joseph Riley Jr. will relinquish his seat to a new face and administration. Mayor Riley is an icon of impenetrable valor admired and respected throughout the Charleston community, the Democratic Party and the country. His legacy as the sixteenth longest running mayor in US History will carry on for generations to come.

Off Duty Night Shift Supervisor Lt. Will Rogers Shot in Moncks Corner – On May 14, 2015, an incident happened at an Exxon Station in Moncks Corner. Off duty police officer Will Rogers, in an attempt to talk down the assailant, and was shot several times in the head. After extensive surgery and physical therapy at MUSC, Mr, Rogers is recovering from the incident.

Citadel students image from Facebook

Citadel Students Dressed as Ku Klux Klan Sing Christmas Carols – Eight Citadel Students have been suspended and chants for the presidential dismissal are lingering in the air over images found on Facebook of Citadel Students singing Christmas carols in what appears to be Ku Klux Klan attire. This unprecedented event coming from one of the most respected public schools in the South, the alma mater of Mayor Riley and a city that has been scars from racial wounds throughout the year sent shivers through Charleston as the year came to a close.

Charleston Mayoral Election – Not since 1975, will the city of Charleston see a mayor other than Joseph Riley Jr. By Election Day of 2015, six honorable men and women stood, each representing a passion for Charleston and an agenda for change. By the end of the evening on Tuesday, November 3, we still did not have a decisive winner. With no one candidate receiving 50% of the popular vote, a vote-off would ensue two weeks later and the two remaining candidates would go head to head for this heralded seat. Leon Stavrinakas and John Tecklenburg would remain. After two weeks and two elections, John Tecklenburg stands alone as the Mayor-elect for Charleston, South Carolina.

Lost and defeated

The Citadel Defeats the University of South Carolina Gamecocks – As you looked at the proud faces of the young men that had just beaten the South Carolina Gamecocks, a once powerhouse of the SEC, you would think you were looking at a group of ten year old boys that just cracked a 100 pound pi?ata of candy. Their excitement as they danced in Columbia was a site to see. It was the reward of hard work, believing and a family spirit that led to this victory. On November 21, 2015, as the last second rang off that clock, the final score read, The Citadel 23 – USC 22 and for the first time in twenty-five years, the baby blue of The Citadel was the victor.

Unexpected Tornado Invades Johns Island – On September 25, 2015, an EF-2 tornado rolled through Johns Island leaving a devastating aftermath. Between 70 and 80 homes received damage from the event that sent shocked waves to the residents of this area. “When the [tornado] started roaring, it was absolutely terrifying,” John Bercik, a Sonny Boy Lane resident told Live 5 News. Fortunately, no lives were lost and the American Red Cross joined forces with local authorities to help families through this tragic natural disaster.

Aftermath of Johns Island tornado
Aftermath of Johns Island tornado