Law enforcement officials are searching for a man who fired shots at Springfield Police following a vehicle pursuit on Monday in Orangeburg County, South Carolina.
According to the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), shots were fired after a pursuit of a stolen vehicle.
Witnesses said the suspect got out of his vehicle following the chase and later fired four to five shots at police while he was running away, WIS reported.
No injuries were reported in the incident, according to SLED.
Officials asked residents in the area to shelter in place after the shooting while police searched for the suspect, according to WIS.
Springfield is a tiny town in Orangeburg County, South Carolina with a population of around 500 people.
Police have not yet located the suspect as of Tuesday afternoon, according to SLED.
SLED agents are investigating the incident.
It is standard procedure for SLED to investigate any shooting incident involving law enforcement.
During the investigation, SLED officers interview all potential witnesses, collect relevant evidence, and test evidence for forensics.
Legislation aimed at formalizing SLED’s statewide role in investigating officer-involved shootings was introduced last year by S.C. senator Gerald Malloy, however Richland County, S.C. sheriff Leon Lott – one of the only local law enforcement leaders whose agency investigates its own officer-involved shootings – has organized resistance to the bill.
This incident marks the 45th officer-involved shooting in South Carolina this year — which means it has already had as many police shootings as it did the entire year of 2019.
In 2017, the Palmetto State set a record for the most officer-involved shootings in one year at 49. That year, the state had recorded 41 officer-involved shootings by Nov. 20 — which means SC is on track to set a record this year.
South Carolina has seen a rash in officer-involved shooting since September. At least six police shootings have been reported in the last month in Beaufort, Richland, Marion, York, Orangeburg, and Charleston counties.
According to SLED’s most recent uniform crime report, the rate of law enforcement officers assaulted climbed by 20 percent in 2019 — after and a 16 percent increase in assaults on law enforcement officers from 2017 to 2018.
“I am extremely concerned by the increased amount of violence in our state including the number of murders, assaults and violent attacks on law enforcement officers,” SLED chief Mark Keel said in a statement announcing the report on Monday.
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