A Fountain Inn man killed by Greenville County deputies failed to comply with repeated orders and was involved in an altercation with deputies before being shot in the parking lot of the Super Lodge Inn and Suites, Sheriff Will Lewis said Sunday.
Lewis declined to identify the three deputies who were involved in the incident early Saturday or specify how many fired their weapons at Jason Robert Mendez, 37.
Mendez was pronounced dead at the scene after being shot multiple times about 1:55 a.m. Saturday at the motel on Mauldin Road off Interstate 85, Coroner Parks Evans said.
Lewis said a firearm was found in Mendez’s vehicle, and a Super Lodge security camera captured the entire event.
Kristen English Clark, 23, was in the vehicle at the time of the altercation and the shooting. She’s facing a charge of obstruction of justice as well as possession of a stolen vehicle, according to jail records and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
Lewis said she told investigators that she was to marry Mendez later Saturday morning.
Lewis said methamphetamine was found in Mendez’s possession.
The incident was spurred when a deputy discovered a stolen license tag on the vehicle where Mendez sat in the driver’s seat and Clark sat in the passenger’s seat, Lewis said.
“He tapped on the window, and they wouldn’t respond,” Lewis said. “He tried to get them to engage, and they wouldn’t engage. They wouldn’t roll down the window. They wouldn’t talk to him. He was just trying to make contact with them... They refused to follow commands.
“Once he had backup on scene, the deputy busted the driver’s-side window out of the vehicle. As soon as he busted the driver’s-side window out of the vehicle, an altercation ensued at which point shots were fired by the deputies. The passenger-side suspect, Ms. Clark, the window was busted out over there because she wouldn’t comply, either. We pulled her out of the vehicle, then immediately pulled Mr. Mendez out of the vehicle and began to render aid until EMS arrived.”
Mendez had been charged with 78 different crimes in South Carolina dating back to 1998, and he’s had 32 convictions, according to Lewis. Resisting arrest with a deadly weapon is among the prior charges he’d faced, Lewis said.
As for the Super Lodge, where the shooting occurred, it poses a problem for the community, Lewis said. He said Greenville County deputies have been called to the motel 390 times in the past year to deal with offenses ranging from drugs and prostitution, to gang activity and shots fired.
The motel is less than a mile from the Symposium Ultra Lounge, where a deadly shooting occurred last week and where deputies have responded 97 times in the past three years.
“We’re probably looking at around $17,000 spent last year in patrolling or responding to calls for this hotel,” Lewis said. “Are we paying for them to continue and for these ongoing criminal enterprises in this area? Are we paying for that with our taxpayers’ dollars? Are they producing back to the community what they’re taking from it? I absolutely don’t think they are... So we may be looking to take further action.”
Lewis said the repeated criminal activity on site could endanger the motel’s business license.
SLED spokesman Thom Berry said results from SLED’s investigation, standard for officer-involved shootings in South Carolina, will be released when possible.
“Since we’re still in the process of conducting interviews and doing our work, it would be inappropriate for us to discuss any specific details of the incident at this time,” Berry said.