The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is looking into yet another officer-involved shooting, this time in Spartanburg County.
This incident took place just prior to dawn on Monday (May 29, 2023). A disturbance call sent officers of the Landrum police department to the Bon Aire apartment complex located just off Randolph Avenue shortly before 4:00 a.m. EDT. Upon arrival, they encountered a seriously injured woman in a wheelchair and a man armed with a butcher knife outside of the residence.
Officers from an array of departments – including the Campobello Police Department, Inman Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, and the South Carolina Highway Patrol — arrived to provide support.
Shortly thereafter, “an encounter” with the man ensued. Shots were fired. Both the injured woman, later identified as 53-year-old Shana McClain, and the man, Freddie Edwards Jr., 58, were pronounced dead at the scene. No officers were injured during the exchange of gunfire.
McClain – who was in an on-again, off-again relationship with Edwards – reported succumbed to “multiple sharp-edged injuries” inflicted by him prior to officers’ arrival, according to the office of Spartanburg coroner Rusty Clevenger.
As for Edwards, he was shot by a Landrum police officer and two Spartanburg County sheriff’s deputies after he repeatedly refused to relinquish his weapon and surrender to them, according to Spartanburg sheriff Chuck Wright. Edwards’ refusal to comply with law enforcement’s directives continued despite him being tased.
“After he was tased he still fought through that,” Wright told reporters. “I’m not sure if the probes were in him or not. We don’t know that yet. It should have in a normal situation at least slowed him down a little bit.”
According to the sheriff, his men did everything in their power to avoid having to shoot Edwards.
“They tried very hard to save this man’s life and he just wouldn’t have none of it,” he said.
Edwards had a domestic violence arrest on his criminal record from 2017 and police had reportedly been dispatched to their apartment on multiple prior occasions related to domestic disturbances.
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.
This was the 13th officer-involved shooting of 2023 – the first involving Landrum and the second involving Spartanburg deputies. In all, there were 32 officer-involved shootings in the Palmetto State in 2022 – continuing a downward trend over the last few years.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
J. Mark Powell is an award-winning former TV journalist, government communications veteran, and a political consultant. He is also an author and an avid Civil War enthusiast. Got a tip or a story idea for Mark? Email him at [email protected].
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