SLED called to investigate fatal Horry County police shooting

troot@thesunnews.com, akelley@thesunnews.comJune 19, 2014 

— An Horry County police officer was involved in a fatal shooting Thursday morning at a home in the Little River area – the first police involved shooting in Horry County since March last year, according to authorities.

Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard said William Workman Jr. 32, was killed in the incident that happened around 10:30 a.m. at 4365 Bayberry Drive in the Little River area, where it lived. An autopsy is planned for Friday, and the cause of death is a gunshot wound, she said.

Few other details were released Thursday about the circumstances involving the officer, others in the home or what led to the shooting.

Horry County police Lt. Robert Kegler confirmed an officer was involved, but referred additional questions to SLED officials.

Agents with the State Law Enforcement Division and their crime scene technicians were called to the scene Thursday and are investigating. The home where the shooting occurred, is located off S.C. 90, and according to Horry County property records, Carlotta D. Motsinger and Will Workman own it..

Thom Berry, a SLED spokesman, said he did not have details of what led to the shooting, including what prompted it. He said information from SLED likely would not be released until agents complete their investigation.

It is standard protocol for SLED agents and crime scene to be called to investigate when a police officer in South Carolina fires their weapon during their duties, Berry said. He said the case file, once complete, will be given to the 15th Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office for further investigation. Berry said the file could be transferred to a different solicitor due to the close working relationship between police and prosecutors and could even be sent to the S.C. Attorney General.

The Horry County Coroner’s Office confirmed a man died Thursday, but has not released his identity.

Renee Poole, who lives five houses away from where the shooting occurred, said Thursday afternoon that she heard two gunshots fired about 10:30 a.m. Thursday as she left to go to the hospital. She said she did not know the people who lived in the home. Several other nearby residents also said they did not know the residents.

Poole said she moved into the neighborhood about two years ago and there were some issues with drugs and burglaries at that time, but lately it has been a quiet place where children in the area play together.

“Its a peaceful neighborhood,” she said. “Everybody gets along with everybody. Just about everybody has kids and they all play together.”

Police had blocked the neighborhood roads as they investigated shooting and Poole said she was frustrated she was not allowed back to her home where her 12-year-old son was located. Poole was one of at least a dozen residents trying to get to a home near the scene Thursday.

Scott Vereen lives on Bay Berry Drive and said hearing about the shooting was shocking and makes him a little nervous.

Vereen’s brother, Sheldon Stanley, said it’s usually a quiet neighborhood with several families

“You never know what’s going on inside a house,” he said. “But, basically it’s a good neighborhood.”

Stanley said a friend called them about the shooting. When they arrived, he said they saw a man on a stretcher placed into the ambulance.

So far this year there have been 22 officer-involved shootings in the state and this is the first in Horry County, Berry said. Last year, there were 18 officer-involved shootings in the state with two in Horry County, both involving Horry County police officers on March 9 and Sept. 14.

In the police involved shootings last year, the first one occurred March 9, 2013, after an officer fired at 65-year-old Gary Kenneth Stegall, who fired at officers and held them at bay for more than an hour at a home on Gallant Court in the Burgess community.

Officers said they escorted a woman to the home about noon to remove her belongings following a domestic dispute. While there with the woman, Stegall, who also lived at the address, returned and argued with police before gunshots were exchanged between Stegall and officers.

Police said Stegall then barricaded himself in the home and police were able to get the woman to safety. Horry County SWAT and negotiators were called to the scene and after a little more than an hour the man surrendered peacefully and without incident. There were no injuries.

The second incident last year on Sept. 14, police exchanged gunfire with a man, who had led officers on a chase along U.S. 501, S.C. 319 and S.C. 22.

Richard Lee Cochran IV, 20, and Shannon Marie Keiser, 34, both of Conway, were arrested in connection with the incident and both remain jailed, according to records at J. Reuben Long Detention Center.

Cochran is charged with three counts of attempted murder, possession of a weapon during violent crime, resisting arrest with a deadly weapon, unlawful carrying of a pistol and failure to stop for a blue light, Horry County police Lt. Robert Kegler said at the time of his arrest. Keiser is charged with obstructing justice.

Cochran also faces charges of driving without a license and a seatbelt violation from the S.C. Highway Patrol in the incident.

In a dash camera video, a highway patrol trooper tried to stop sport utility vehicle about 6 p.m. Sept. 14, but the vehicle went through a parking lot and sped away on U.S. 501 near Cultra Road.

The chase continued for about 10 minutes along U.S. 501, Enoch Road, S.C. 319 and ended on S.C. 22 when the vehicle ran off the roadway. The video showed that the driver turned, leaned out the window and fired five gunshots at the trooper as the driver got onto S.C. 22.

The vehicle careened off the side of S.C. 22 and stopped in a field where the driver ran into a nearby wooded area while he fired at police, the video showed. Officers shot back at Cochran, but no one was hurt during the incident, authorities said.

Keiser was a passenger in the vehicle and tried to run away when it stopped, but she was taken into custody.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or on Twitter @tonyaroot. Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381 or on Twitter @TSN_AKelley.

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