A Pendelton (SC) police officer shot and killed a man last night after responding to a domestic dispute that rapidly spun out of control.
A man was shot and killed after police say he charged at a Pendleton officer and refused commands to stop.
The shooting happened near Poplar Street and Woodland Circle just after 7 p.m. Monday.
Pendleton Police Chief Doyle Burdette said the officer was responding to a domestic incident when he encountered a man in the road. He says the man charged at the officer and refused commands to stop before the officer shot him at least once.
The Anderson County coroner says the suspect, who was wearing only underwear, was combative and was Tased after witnesses say the officer told him to get down and he did not comply.
After being Tased, the coroner says the suspect got into the police car and the officer fired several shots. The police car then rolled backwards and hit a tree.
There may be body camera video of the shooting, according to the coroner.
From the description of the events provided, it appears that the officer attempted to use his taser to disable the man, but the Taser had little or no effect on the man, which isn’t uncommon, even when officers make good hits.
While details of precisely why the officer fired are sparse, I strongly suspect that one of two things occurred. The first is that the suspect was attempting to use the vehicle as a weapon against the officer, and he felt compelled to fire to keep the suspect from running him down. As the car was in gear and rolled into a tree, this may be the more likely scenario. The other, equally dangerous possibility is that the suspect was attempting to access the officer’s long gun (either a shotgun or a semi-automatic rifle) often carried in a mount beside the driver’s seat.
The officer attempted to use verbal commands and his Taser to bring the suspect down, and only went to his sidearm when the suspect entered the officer’s vehicle.
While I’m sure that there will be a full investigation into the event, the initial report makes it sound like the officer did everything possible to keep the community safe and only went for his or her gun when less-lethal options failed and the threat posed by the suspect escalated to a dangerous degree.