A lengthy car chase throughout Socastee early Friday morning ended in a police-involved shooting that sent four people to the hospital.
The suspect and three officers went to the hospital, according to Horry County police.
All officers involved in the Myrtle Beach-area incident said on police radio traffic they were OK in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
The car chase ended on Maypop Circle and Palmetto Pointe Boulevard around 1:15 a.m. after the suspect drove over stop sticks as police tried to end a car chase that lasted nearly 30 minutes.
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One of the officers is heard calling “shots fired” on police radio traffic.
“He had a gun,” one officer says on the radio as he also calls for EMS.
Within minutes officials on the police radio ask if all the officers are OK, and officers on scene respond that they are all right.
None of the officers that went to the hospital were shot, said Horry police spokeswoman Mikayla Moskov. The male suspect suffered injuries in the incident, Moskov confirmed.
“What I can say right now is that HCPD was involved in a shooting incident this morning, which resulted in injuries to the suspect,” Moskov said.
The S.C. Law Enforcement Division is investigating. SLED spokesman Thom Berry said the officers involved were taken to the hospital to check for bloodborne pathogen exposure as they had the suspect’s blood on them from trying to provide aid. Moskov said it’s standard procedure for officers to be checked if there is a risk of exposure.
The incident happened in front of Heath Culbreth’s apartment. He said he woke up to his dog barking then heard gunshots.
“There’s not much commotion that goes on around here, everyone’s quiet and gets along,” Culbreth said. “I was a little bit distraught about it.”
Officers on police radios say one person was shot in the back and chest.
Ramsey Nastallah, a resident at The Pointe, said he heard three shots and tried to keep his dog calm.
“I just locked my door, turned the lights off,” he said. “After I saw the firetruck and ambulance come, I came outside. There was like 50 cops here.”
Moskov said that police responded around 1 a.m. and there was a brief “low-speed pursuit” prior to the shooting.
But police radio traffic details a car chase that lasted about 20 minutes and started on U.S. Highway 17 Bypass then went to S.C. Highway 707 and other roads in the Socastee area. It’s unclear what led to the chase.
At some points during the chase, speeds reached 80 mph, according to police. Officers are heard on the radio trying to set up stop sticks to end the chase. Stop sticks are a police tool that creates flat tires on a vehicle.
Karissa Craver who lives at The Pointe said she heard sirens for about 15 minutes and saw police lights in the parking lot.
“I heard running and then three pops and watched the whole thing from my window,” Craver said.