The police stopped Clifford Hartwell, middle, and his friends while they were standing in the street in front of his home on July 29, 2017. "They talking about shooting and breaking into cars, houses...We ain't brother nobody...All that to tell us to get off the street," said Hartwell after the police patted down him and his friends. After the police left empty handed Hartwell said, "Man, I'm just chilling.. I was upset but I'm so used to it. No one likes to be harassed by them, but you're so used to it." Clifford and his crew were planning on shooting a rap video for some of his new songs.
Tra' Sean White, middle, plays football shoeless with his friends in a vacant lot across the street from their homes on May 19, 2017. The lot has plans of being turned into a playground and basketball court. A "coming soon" sign is on Olympia street in front of the two vacant lots.
Officer Tracey Williams chases after a suspect for a weapons violation warrant on Louise drive on July 5, 2017. "I got him right here," said Williams over the radio after he saw the suspect in the backyard of a home on Louise Drive. Williams did not catch the suspect but he was detained shortly after.
Shamariah Jones, 8, exits through the front door as she finishes the crust of her pizza.
JD Roland greets a customer at Carolina Kutz as Lamont Moore, 6, waits in the high chair for his hair cut as Tony Rivers, right, cuts a customers hair. "The thing about it is we've been in the Waylyn for so long, I guess since 1994 as a business, we kind of know everybody," said JD. They talk about a range of things in the barber shop from politics to sports to current events in Charleston. “It ain’t always about a haircut," said JD.
Monthly meetings are held in the Waylyn to collect dues, address resident concerns, and detail upcoming events for the neighborhood.
Shamariah Jones, 8, eats Little Caesars pizza for breakfast , which she also had for the previous dinner, as she watches Smurfs: The Lost Village, in her stepmothers bed with her brother Sheldon Muse, 12, and friend Mackenzie Paige-Prizzie, 10.
Clifford, Mixa, Hartwell, right, listens to his rap he recorded moments earlier in Jordan Costello's studio in Summerville on July 24, 2107. Hartwell has been rapping since he was 12 and is now focusing on what is happening in the Waylyn neighborhood where he lives. He wants to show people what it's really like in his neighborhood and that it isn't as bad as it used to be. "There's always shootings and stuff like that. Nobody wanna come in an area where you gotta worry 'bout if you gonna make it back out." "Rapping is my space. I tune everything out. I tune everything out and get lost. I be happy doing that...Give me a while not to think about reality, about what's really going on. Because I ain't gonna lie, it's hard sometimes."
Jessica White watches her children Tra'Sean and Madison in their front yard on May 19, 2017. After eating Swedish Fish and other candy, the children played outside and in the street for hours.
The White family piece together a puzzle of the 50 states in the quiet of their home.
Stacy Strachan-McKinley, 8, takes a break from his video games to have his portrait taken at his grandmother's house on July 29, 2017.
Tanang Williams wrestles with her stepson Sheldon as her grandson Stacy finishes his pizza in their living room. Williams was wrestling with Sheldon after kissing him on the cheek and saying "you lurking?," which was the phrase for the weekend.
Clifford Hartwell, middle left, and his friends joke about their self-haircuts outside of his home in the Waylyn on August 11, 2017.
Officer Tracey Williams responds to a domestic violence call on March 14, 2017 where the alleged suspect left on a black beach cruiser. “There are constant issues at some addresses,” said Williams after the call.
Officer Tracey Williams speaks with the mother of a suspect with a weapons warrant after a foot chase on Louise drive on July 5, 2017. "Williams, let me see my son," she was yelling. "Just let me make sure my son alright!" Williams threatened to give her a charge for disorderly conduct but she quickly calmed down. "She knows I don't play with her," said Williams. "I kind of get to her level. Since she was up at 25, I kind of had to go to 25."
McKenzie and Madison White bug their mother Jessica outside their home on May 19, 2017. This house is Jessica's dream home. "I saw this place and I was like it has a yard, the children could play in a big backyard and then I went inside and I just fell in love. Everything was perfect," she said.
Sheldon Muse, 12, in his stepmother's home in the Waylyn July 29, 2017. Muse spends his summers in the Waylyn but resides in New Jersey.
Tanang Williams arrived home on August 4, 2017 to find her house engulfed in flames. She and her daughter lost their dogs and all of the kitchen will have to be replaced. “You couldn’t see it from outside. When you came in is when you noticed the soot and everything. You walked in the kitchen and everything was already melting,” Tanang said. Although the smell of smoke was throughout the house she and her daughter stayed there, “I’m not going to go anywhere.” She planned to block off the kitchen and make the rest of the area livable.
Officer Tracey Williams looks over to an approaching police cruiser after stopping a man and his son who were about to set off fireworks in a grassy field near the interstate on July 5, 2017.
After a long day and night of video games, Stacy Strachan-McKinley, 8, falls asleep early on his bed at his grandmother's house on July 29, 2017.
Briana jokes with her sister Zyaira that the water park is only for older kids. "I want to go!," said Zyaira. Briana had plans to go with her friends in the days following.
Bullet holes line the interior of Crystal Brabham's home exactly a month after her son McGill, BJ, Cason was killed. BJ was taking his brother, Bobby, home when he was shot in the head and killed about a block way. "Someone told Briana (Crystal's daughter) he was shot," said Crystal. "She went rushing outside as they were shooting. She could've gotten shot in the process. Then my 8-year-old tried to run down there and thank God one of the neighbors stopped her. He was on the ground and bleeding and still alive. It took the ambulance forever to get there." "They don't like to go to the kitchen at night if they're not together," said Crystal about Briana and Zai. "They don't even maneuver in this house at nighttime without each other." Sometimes Brianna sleeps with her mom if her friends aren't there.
A few weeks later, a 14-year-old suspect was charged with the murder of Cason and another man in a separate incident.
Shamariah Jones, 8, in her stepmother's home in the Waylyn on July 29, 2017. Jones spends her summers in the Waylyn but resides in Columbia, SC.
Officer Tracey Williams drives past the K-9 unit while they look for a suspect with a weapons warrant after a foot chase on Louise drive on July 5, 2017. Williams chased the suspect after he saw him in a backyard, but after coming up empty handed, the suspect was caught by other officers a few moments later.
Officer Tracey Williams walks around the area where a homicide occurred week before.
Numerous vacant homes are in the Waylyn and Dorchester Terrace neighborhoods. Sometimes they are used for hiding spots, stash houses or shelter by vagrants.
Clifford, Mixa, Hartwell grew up in the Waylyn neighborhood and has lived through the violence and changes. He lost his first friend to violence at 17, he is now 26. "I lose a lot of them around here," he said. "You can go to the corner store and just be in the middle of a damn Wild Wild West damn gunshoot, you know. It's crazy. It's real though. It's real." In order to escape some of the realities of the violence, Hartwell has focused his rapping to topics about the area. He has big dreams for the neighborhood and his family if he were to make it big in the rapping industry. "I wanna buy this community, man. I really do," he said. "I just wanna put a lot of things around here for the kids. I really do think if there was a little boys and girls club around here, I know that would be right. That'll give them something to do you know instead of coming outside."