A white Forest Acres police officer shot a black driver who tried to strike him with his car early Thursday, according to a State Law Enforcement Division spokesman.
The officer, whose identity was not immediately available, approached a man in a parked vehicle while responding to a report of a loud noise on Brookwood Court between 1 and 2 a.m., SLED’s Thom Berry said. Berry says the driver tried to strike the male officer with the vehicle and the officer fired as the vehicle sped away.
Berry says the officer chased the vehicle which crashed into an ATM at South Carolina Federal Credit Union on Forest Drive. SLED is investigating the chase, but no shots were fired then.
The driver suffered a gunshot wound. He was conscious and talking to emergency responders before being taken to a hospital. Berry said he does not know the suspect's condition or where he was struck.
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The officer wasn't hurt.
SLED is investigating and said there is dash cam video of the incident. The State has asked both SLED and the Forest Acres Police Department for a copy of the video but has not yet received a response from either.
The incident was the 17th officer-involved shooting in South Carolina in 2016, according to a SLED news release. It was the first involving the Forest Acres department. There were 48 such incidents in 2015, including one involved a Forest Acres officer. Greg Alia, 32, was fatally wounded in a struggle with a suspect inside Richland Mall on Sept. 30, 2015.
Richland Mall is a short distance from Brockwood Court, a two-block street culinating in a dead end. Resident Dana McManus, 38, said she was awake at about 1:30 a.m. and saw the pursuit.
“I heard what distinctly sounded like I think six gunshots really close,” McManus said. “Then through the blinds – we have a huge front window – as soon as the shots rang out, a car went screeching up the street, and then not 30 seconds behind him was a cop flying through here chasing him.”
Police remained in the area until about 4 a.m., McManus said.