Law enforcement officials have arrested a man following an officer-involved shooting and standoff Chester County, South Carolina early Saturday.
According to the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), “shots were fired during a confrontation between a man and deputies from Chester County Sheriff’s Office.”
Deputies were called to the scene at High Tower Road in Fort Lawn, South Carolina around 3 a.m. Saturday, according to Chester County Sheriff’s Office officials.
No one was injured in the shooting.
After the shooting, a standoff ensued between deputies and the man, later identified as Gerald Williams Jr. During the standoff, law enforcement officials asked residents around High Tower Road to stay in their homes, according to the sheriff’s office.
The standoff lasted several hours before police were able to arrest Williams and bring him into custody.
Williams was charged with resisting arrest with a deadly weapon. Other charges are pending, according to the sheriff’s office.
Fort Lawn is a small town in Chester County, SC with a population of around 900.
SLED agents are investigating the shooting.
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 47th officer-involved shooting in South Carolina this year — which means it has already surpassed 2019’s total.
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.
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 recent report.
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