Video, interviews detail police chase before officer-involved shooting in Socastee area

Dashcam video of chase and police involved shooting in Palmetto Pointe

A car chase ended in an officer-involved shooting on Feb. 8, 2019, in Horry County, S.C. No charges were filed against Horry County police officers involved in a shooting.
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A car chase ended in an officer-involved shooting on Feb. 8, 2019, in Horry County, S.C. No charges were filed against Horry County police officers involved in a shooting.

Horry County police officers followed as a suspect fled from his car in a housing development off Palmetto Pointe in February. The man had led police on a 20-minute car chase that ended when spike strips punctured his tires.

The cops follow the suspect toward a building when a commotion is heard.

“Gun. Gun Gun!” one officer yells moments later.

“Shoot me!” the suspect is heard yelling.

“Pop, pop, pop, pop,” the sounds of gunshots fill the early-morning air.

“Shots fired. Shots fired,” one officer says. “He had a gun.”

Dashcam video and audio — as well as statements by the police involved — detail a Feb. 8 shooting involving Horry County police. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division provided information to The Sun News following a Freedom of Information Act request. The 15th Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office previously announced it would not file charges against the officers involved in the incident.

The suspect — Damien Givler, who was sentenced on Tuesday to two years in prison for the incident and an unrelated criminal sexual conduct charge — nearly hit another car near U.S. Highway 17 and Socastee Boulevard, according to an officer’s statement. The officer tried to pull over the suspect and the man fled, driving through subdivisions and business parking lots in Socastee.

“The suspect’s vehicle was basically driving circles in the Socastee area,” one officer wrote.

Officers deployed spikes to stop Givler and were initially unsuccessful, according to their statements, but officers eventually forced the suspect to drive over a strip, causing both passenger tires to go flat.

Givler drove into a housing development where he slowly meandered through the lot. He pulled toward a dead-end area when one officer cut his cruiser through some parking spots to box him in. Givler then fled toward one of the buildings as police ran after him.

At least one person was shot in an officer-involved shooting in the Myrtle Beach area, according to Horry County police. Four people were taken to the hospital to be checked. No officers were shot.

Officers stated Givler had a cellphone in one hand, while one cop said he had a gun in his other hand. Givler dropped the cellphone and continued to flee.

An officer yelled, “he’s got a gun” as a cop hit Givler with a taser, according to the statements. Givler fell to the ground.

One officer approached to disarm Givler, and he pointed the handgun calling for the cop to shoot him, according to the statements. Givler said he did not want to live and again asked the officer to shoot him. That officer did not fire shots, but another cop saw the scene unfold.

“I believe that [the officer] was in imminent danger of being shot and killed or sustain great bodily injury,” the cop wrote. “I then shot the suspect until I saw his arm drop.”

Officers secured Givler’s weapon and called EMS.

The officer who had the gun pointed at him later told a SLED agent that he did not shoot because he was “calling the suspect’s bluff,” according to the agent’s report. The officer did say he felt his life was in danger with a gun pointed at him.

EMS crews took Givler to the hospital. The officers involved also went to the hospital, as they had blood on them and it’s standard procedure to be checked.

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Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.