Horry County teacher, former police officer charged in North Myrtle Beach Wal-Mart assault

troot@thesunnews.comJanuary 16, 2013 

— An Horry County school teacher and former police officer is facing assault charges following an incident in a Wal-Mart parking lot, according to authorities.

Kevin Lee Duke, 48, of Little River was booked into the North Myrtle Beach Jail at 8:53 a.m. Dec. 23 and released on $2,500 bail the same day, charged with second-degree assault and battery and third-degree assault and battery, according to jail records.

Duke had worked with Horry County Schools since Dec. 12, which was five days before the winter break, after he was hired to teach at St. James High School, said Teal Harding, Horry County Schools spokeswoman. Duke has been placed on leave with pay pending an investigation.

Duke had worked with Horry County police since May 1991 until he retired as a lieutenant in November 2011, said Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokeswoman. He returned to work as a patrol officer on Nov. 16, 2011 and then left on May 20.

The charges stem from an incident about 6 p.m. Dec. 21, when North Myrtle Beach police were called to the Wal-Mart parking lot at 550 North U.S. 17 in the city limits for an assault, according to a police report. Officers learned that the victims were taken to Seacoast Medical Center by EMS, so they went to that location.

A 51-year-old man and his 47-year-old wife, whose hometown was redacted from the report, told police that they were in the parking lot waiting for a parking space in Row 8 when the incident occurred, according to the report. The woman told police that she got out of their car to retrieve a shopping cart and her husband was driving their vehicle and waited for a parking spot to open.

While there, the woman said a man driving a silver BMW was behind their vehicle and the driver revved its engine, according to the report. The woman said the BMW driver quickly pulled around their vehicle blew his horn and flashed his lights at her husband in their vehicle.

The woman said when the parking space was free, her husband pulled their vehicle into it and the BMW driver pulled up beside her, according to the report. The woman said the driver, who was identified as Duke, cursed at her and her husband before he jumped out of his vehicle.

The woman said Duke attacked her husband, punching him in the head, face and body several times as she tried to pull him away and yelled for him to stop, according to the report. The woman said Duke turned and started to punch her, but her husband pulled her away and Duke began to punch her husband again.

The woman got Duke’s license plate number and called 911, according to the report. The woman said Duke then got back in his vehicle and drove away.

Police said the tag was registered to Duke for a GMC Canyon.

Soon after the incident, Duke called North Myrtle Beach police to report he had been assaulted in the parking lot of the store, but he refused to return to the scene or meet with police, according to the report. Officers got surveillance video that showed Duke as the aggressor in the incident.

“Mr. Duke jumped out of his vehicle unprovoked and initiated the assault against both” victims, the officer wrote in the report.

The male victim suffered three broken bones in his head, a black eye and cuts to his eye that required stitches, according to the report. The female victim had marks on her cheek, ear and arm.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.

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