Over the weekend, this news outlet reported on the horrific shooting of a South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP) trooper in rural Bamberg County.
Lance corporal Bentrice A. Frazier, 55, of Fairfax, S.C. was shot in the face during a routine traffic stop on U.S. Highway 78 between Bamberg and Denmark, S.C. at approximately 3:30 a.m. EDT. He remains hospitalized at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, S.C., although he is in stable condition and is expected to recover from his wounds.
Serve & Connect – a group which exists to facilitate better relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve – has organized a fundraiser on behalf of Frazier’s family to assist them with medical bills and other expenses related to his recovery. Unlike some online solicitations, 100 percent of Serve & Connect’s proceeds go directly to those expenses.
On Monday afternoon, the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) issued a statement updating the public on the status of its investigation into the shooting. As previously noted, SLED investigates officer-involved shootings as a matter of protocol in the vast majority of local law enforcement jurisdictions in the Palmetto State – presenting independent, investigative reports to the solicitor with jurisdiction over the county or municipality where the shooting transpired.
According to SLED, Frazier was conducting a traffic stop on a speeding vehicle in Denmark, S.C. – assisted by deputy Dwayne Duckson of the Bamberg County sheriff’s office. During the stop, an individual identified by law enforcement as 37-year-old Derrick Gathers of Augusta, Georgia “fired a pistol, shooting the trooper.”
“As the trooper approached the vehicle, (Gathers) presented a handgun and shot the trooper in the head with the intent to kill the trooper,” a probable cause affidavit accompanying the arrest warrants noted. “(Gathers) fired additional rounds at Bamberg County deputy sheriff Dwayne Duckson with the intent to kill the deputy.”
“The trooper and deputy returned fire, striking the vehicle as Gathers drove away,” SLED noted in its statement.
The incident was reportedly captured on Frazier’s body-worn camera.
(Click to view)
Gathers was pursued by a second SCHP trooper, another Bamberg county deputy and a Bamberg police office. During this pursuit, he wrecked the vehicle he was driving – a black Mazda sport utility vehicle (SUV) – in the town of Branchville, S.C. in neighboring Orangeburg County.
After a brief hospitalization at MUSC, Gathers was taken into custody by SLED and transported to the Bamberg County detention center where he was booked on the following charges: Two counts of attempted murder, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and failure to stop for blue lights.
SLED indicated its investigation was ongoing and that no further information would be disclosed at this time. According to the agency, Sunday’s shooting was the ninth officer-involved shooting in the Palmetto State so far this year.
This news outlet will keep our readers updated in the event there is any information available related to Gathers’ bond hearing. As with anyone accused of committing any crime, he is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as he may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to any of the charges filed against him.
State representative Justin Bamberg – whose father Kenny Bamberg is sheriff of Bamberg County – praised deputies for their swift response to the shooting. He also pointed out they were not just in the right place at the right time, but rather on the scene by design.
According to Bamberg, his father instituted a “professional custom” when he took office in 2021 of “he and his deputies backing up other law enforcement agency personnel on scene so they would not be alone during traffic stops in Bamberg County where avoidable.”
“I truly believe that custom helped save a life today,” Bamberg added.
RELEASE/ INDICTMENTS ...
(Via: S.C. State Law Enforcement Division)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ...
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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