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Crime & Courts

K9 Cop Killer: Another ‘Bentley Price Special’

South Carolina lawmakers need to start cutting out cancers in the judicial branch … starting in Charleston County.

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Last week, an armed, violent criminal with a decades-long rap sheet shot and killed a South Carolina K9 officer – and wounded a Charleston County master deputy – while attempting to evade capture from another incident in which he shot and wounded a fellow citizen.

Why was this one-man crime spree out on our streets?

In cases like this, we often ask ourselves: How could this have happened? What could have prompted this senseless violence?

We don’t need to ask those questions in this case, though. Because in this case – and far too many cases like it in South Carolina – we already know the answers. We already know who is to blame.

One hundred percent of this violence – like far too many other instances of violence unfolding in our communities – was one hundred percent preventable.

And yet sadly, the violence is never going to be stopped until we cut out the cancer that’s causing it. That cancer, of course, is South Carolina’s broken, corrupt, upside-down system of “justice” – which perpetually insists on granting unconscionable leniency to murderers, rapists, gangbangers and thugs while subjecting the rest of us to the terror of their whizzing bullets and increasingly brazen and brutal strong-arm attacks.

We know who is standing up for the violent criminals … the question is who is standing up for the rest of us?



Less than a month before he embarked on his latest rampage of bloodshed, the suspect in last week’s shooting stood in front of a Palmetto State judge on a weapons charge. Rather than lock him up – or refer him to the feds for prosecution – the judge inexplicably turned 38-year-old Ernest Burbage III back out onto our streets.

The judge in question? Bentley Price.

If you are a regular member of our audience, that name doesn’t just ring a bell – it bangs a gong. Sounds an alarm.

Price – who is currently being considered for another term on the bench – is the poster judge for the Palmetto State’s broken judicial system. He is the cancer. We have written on numerous occasions in the past about his justice-defying shenanigans – yet he continues to wreak havoc with his rulings.

Price’s lenient sentences for violent offenders, anemic bonds for accused killers and sketchy procedural moves are case studies in everything that’s wrong with the Palmetto State’s broken system – which continues to enable widespread institutional corruption, shred the rights of victims, empower violent criminals and materially erode public safety.

Burbage – whose record of violent crime dates back to 2002 – appeared in front of Price in July of 2021 and pleaded guilty to third degree domestic violence (reduced from a second degree charge). He was sentenced to ninety days of time served. This leniency came despite his lengthy record of violent offenses – which included a litany of arrests across South Carolina and Pennsylvania.

(Click to View)

Ernest Burbage III (Provided)

On August 29, 2023, Burbage appeared in front of Price once again – this time on a felon in possession of a firearm charge. Bear in mind, that’s basically the same charge federal prosecutors were (until recently) securing five-year sentences on – with no parole. Did Burbage get five years? Or even one year?

No …

Once again, Price sentenced him to credit for sixty days of time served.

Four weeks later, on the afternoon of September 27, 2023, Burbage – allegedly under the influence of alcohol – started randomly firing a weapon at a friend’s home, according to law enforcement. A stray bullet struck a passenger in a vehicle that was traveling near the home, police say – prompting a manhunt. As deputies began searching for Burbage, reports surfaced of him being spotted at another home in the Johns Island region of the Lowcountry.

When they arrived at that location, Burbage emerged with a long gun and opened fire – wounding master deputy James Gilbreath of the Charleston County sheriff’s office in the head. Luckily, Gilbreath survived. Unluckily, Burgage was not immediately apprehended – and the manhunt stretched into a second day.

Multiple schools were shut down and entire communities saw their lives and their work disrupted.

Sheriff’s deputies and agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) eventually tracked Burbage to a one-story home on Mary Ann Point drive in Johns Island. There, attempts were undertaken to apprehend him via a robot – and later using the K9 agent, named Rico. Those attempts were unsuccessful. In fact, during Rico’s entry into the home, Burbage shot and killed the three-year-old dog – a cross between a Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd.

(Click to View)

K9 agent Rico. (S.C. State Law Enforcement Division)

After shooting and killing Rico, Burbage attempted to flee the residence by crawling out of a rear window – wielding a weapon as he emerged from the home. At this point – shortly before 2:00 p.m. EDT on September 28, 2023 – officers shot and killed him, bringing an end to the drama.

Well … at least until the next time Price or another Palmetto State judge decides to turn a career violent criminal loose on our streets.

Which is likely to be any day now, sadly.

Catch. Release. Rinse. Repeat.

Typically, SLED investigates officer-involved shootings in South Carolina. Because this incident involved SLED agents, however, the case is being investigated by the Beaufort County sheriff’s office. Count on this media outlet to keep our audience up to speed on the latest developments in connection with that investigation.

More importantly, count on us to continue calling out corruption within the Palmetto State’s judicial branch of government – especially as it relates to judges like Bentley Price whose chronic failure to lock up violent criminal poses a clear and present danger to communities all across our state.

Under no circumstances can Price be allowed to retain his seat on the bench in South Carolina. Let me repeat that: Under no circumstances can Price be allowed to retain his seat on the bench in South Carolina.

Seriously … we cannot afford to wait for certain investigations to run their course. Price has to go … yesterday.

This week, one South Carolina drew a line in the sand on the issue of long-overdue judicial selection reform. Lawmakers must draw a similar line in the sand as it relates to Bentley Price.



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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J Monday Top fan October 4, 2023 at 6:45 am

This is disturbing on so many levels. I live in Alabama, and while we have our own problems & issues, I do not hear these stories. Our AG is extremely tough on the likes of this career criminal Burbage. We also don’t have powerful politicians in our state legislature appointing our judiciary that serve at their pleasure. How dysfunctional is that?

Courtney Edwards October 5, 2023 at 3:00 am

Sorry i am his ex sister in law and your facts are wrong sorry but this is because of our judicial system over sentencing children he was defending himself when a neighborhood drug dealing bully pulled a gun on him and he shot him and then ran and because he was a convicted fellon with a firearm he didn’t feel like he had a chance Bubba spent 15 years in prison he was convicted and he spent 15 years of his life the first time was 10 the second time was 5 he hasn’t even been out long he didn’t feel like he had a chance because Society won’t accept him or even let him get a job that’s where you’re wrong so he didn’t feel like he even had a chance since
He committed his first crime as a
very young teenager and then they sentenced him to sentences that a grown man shouldn’t even have to face do you know how hard it is in prison on somebody he mentally ill people Overlook and take that into consideration he was seeing things the day of and the day before I told the police that day that he was seeing things..that he was not seeing things as they were and yet they still shot him a mentally ill person they didn’t even give him a chance to come out.. the bad part about it is is he wanted die suicide by cop because he didn’t want to commit suicide and they obliged him…he killed a dog my brother was a human being who had feelings..its because of people like you and by the way they didn’t just shoot him they shot him over 50 times he was not that big of a dude why they had to Overkill my brother so that we couldn’t even bury him he had to be cremated without even being identified get your facts straight before you start over sentencing people by yourself without a jury and not only that but blaming a judge with our prison system so overwhelmed and overpopulated no instead of sitting there and helping Society you would rather judge and crucify when you clearly dont know the truth what did you want him to do serve the rest of his life in prison I mean come on he made a mistake when he was a teenager Bubba was never given a chance because of people like you he was a kid and that ruined the rest of his life he had nowhere else to go he didn’t have a chance cuz any little slip just like that day defending himself would have sent him back to prison for the rest of his life and if you’ve never been to prison which I have never been to prison but I have heard that it is the worst place in the world to be and obviously he would have rather died then go back get your facts straight before you start writing judging and convicting people without even having the facts to lifelong sentences that what’s wrong with this world is people like you he was a very good person he was extremely smart he was definitely a straight up no bs said what he meant did what he said you could trust him and he was loyal he was right under their nose the whole time and they couldnt catch him he pretty much gave himself to them and they shot him so many times running from them there’s no way he could have climbed out of that window and not Disturbed the flower pot hanging outside of the window holding a rifle to the point where they feared their lives there’s no way sorry the cops probably felt mocked and because a Ricochet hit a cop and because of a canine dog they shot him over 50 times to the point where they won’t even let him be identified it’s absurd maybe if Society like yourself didn’t do that like the news did maybe he would have felt like he had a chance maybe he would have put the gun down or never even picked it up he was seeing things he wasn’t his self he needed help in society failed him the people who were supposed to protect him and others failed him because he defended himself and didn’t feel like he had a chance again get your facts right all the police departments that were involved need to be investigated every single person that day needs to be investigated and every cop that shot after the first shot needs to be in jail for murder to they do not need a gun in their hands ever again thats for sure

Courtney Edwards October 5, 2023 at 3:06 am

Oh ya he was not drinking alcohol Bubba didnt drink alcohol again you are wrong


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