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Crime & Courts

Bond Denied For Shooter Of South Carolina Trooper

Defendant to remain incarcerated …

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The Georgia man who fired a round into the face of a South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP) trooper four days ago was denied bond this week in connection with the myriad of charges he is facing following Sunday morning’s bloodshed.

That means barring another instance of ill-advised judicial leniency on the part of Palmetto State judges, he will remain incarcerated pending a trial on those charges.

As previously reported, 37-year-old Derrick Gathers of Augusta, Georgia shot lance corporal Bentrice A. Frazier, 55, of Fairfax, S.C. in the face early Sunday morning during a routine traffic stop on U.S. Highway 78 between Bamberg and Denmark, S.C. He also fired a shot at deputy Dwayne Duckson of the Bamberg County sheriff’s office, who was assisting Frazier in the stop.

Both Frazier and Duckson returned fire, striking the Mazda SUV driven by Gathers.

Gathers is facing two counts of attempted murder, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and failure to stop for blue lights. He faces decades behind bars, if convicted.

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On Tuesday, Gathers was denied bond by Bamberg County magistrate Richard Threatt, who heard from S.C. second circuit assistant solicitor David Miller that the defendant was both a flight risk and a danger to the community.

According to information supplied to the court by Miller, Gathers is a registered sex offender in Georgia with a lengthy criminal record dating back nearly twenty years. He has pending charges in Richmond County for possession of methamphetamine, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent felony stemming from an arrest three years ago.

Gathers also has multiple vehicular charges pending against him related to another arrest last June – including “attempting to elude a police officer.” Additionally, there were warrants for his arrest in Georgia at the time he was stopped for speeding by Frazier.

News of Threatt’s ruling was first reported by Martha Rose Brown of The (Orangeburg, S.C.) Times and Democrat.

Frazier continues to recover from his wounds at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, S.C. In a distinctly positive sign, though, the veteran law enforcement officer was able to virtually attend Gathers’ bond hearing from his hospital bed - waving his hand to judge Threatt at one point in acknowledgement.

That reminds me: 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.

The S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) - the lead agency investigating this officer-involved shooting - is continuing to make inquiries into the incident.

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. In this case, that is the office of S.C. second circuit solicitor Bill Weeks.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR ...

Will Folks on phone
Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

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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1 comment

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George Willingham Top fan April 19, 2023 at 9:58 am

Max sentence on all counts

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