Crime & Courts

South Carolina Standoff Ends In Fatal Officer Involved Shooting

York County incident under investigation …

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A traffic stop in York County, South Carolina escalated into a vehicular chase, which in turn escalated into a multi-hour standoff, which in turn escalated into an officer involved shooting resulting in the death of 62-year-old Charlie Baker of Clover, S.C.

Baker was armed according to reports from law enforcement, although his girlfriend is questioning that narrative.

“We want to know what the initial stop was about,” Cassie Goodale told reporters with Charlotte, N.C.-based Queen City News. “Was he speeding? Was he driving recklessly? I want to know what made them pull him over the first time and what led to the chase.”

“They say he had a gun in his hand, and he wasn’t waving it at anybody, but they just shot him,” Goodale added.

The incident took place during the early morning hours of Sunday, March 3, 2024 on Alexander Love Highway – which intersects with U.S. Highway 321 approximately two miles north of York and roughly fifteen miles from Baker’s home.

Deputies from the York County sheriff’s office encountered Baker following a traffic stop and vehicle chase initiated by the York police department. Baker – who is alleged to have been suffering from mental illness – refused to exit his vehicle and barricaded himself inside. The York County SWAT team responded and attempted to negotiate with him.

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According to a news release from the county, lance corporal Berlin Gipson – a member of the SWAT team – discharged his rifle during the incident. Baker died at the scene. No members of law enforcement were injured.

The shooting – and subsequent investigation into it – shut down Alexander Love Highway for several hours.

Per sheriff’s office policy, Gipson was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the shooting by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). That investigation was requested by York County sheriff Kevin Tolson.

Neither SLED nor York County is commenting on the investigation.

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.

The results of this investigation will be provided to S.C. sixteenth circuit solicitor Kevin Brackett, who will determine whether the use of force was justified.

This incident marks the eighth officer involved shooting in South Carolina this year – and the first from York County. There were no officer involved shootings in York County in 2023. The last officer involved shooting with a York County deputy took place in September 2022.

South Carolina set a record for officer involved shootings in 2017 with 49 such incidents. That record was matched in 2020.

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SLED RELEASE …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Callie Lyons (provided)

Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher and author. Her 2007 book ‘Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal’ was the first to cover forever chemicals and their impact on communities – a story later told in the movie ‘Dark Waters’. Her investigative work has been featured in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world. Lyons also appears in ‘Citizen Sleuth’ – a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.

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2 comments

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VERITAS Top fan March 5, 2024 at 8:03 pm

“Mental illness” or “having a mental health crisis” or “in crisis” or “suicidal” or “under the influence” or WHAT? What makes it just fine to blame law enforcement for their justified response to the actions of these individuals who are putting others at risk. We closed the “mental institutions” long ago because they were deemed inhumane. At the end of the day, there is no excuse to put the public or first responders at risk because family members can’t accept that their “wonderful loved one” no longer exists, by mental defect or addiction or WHATEVER, and is reeking havoc on society. I know, I have one in my own family. He doesn’t want our help nor from anyone else. While family more often have a unique ability to erase reality when it concerns a loved one they once knew, society is NOT willing to enter into that warped reality. This is why George Floyd, a career criminal and heavy drug user, was made into a saint. Insane.

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Please Be a Better Human March 6, 2024 at 11:11 am

You’re kinda all over the place, dude.

Mental illness and all the others you listed actually do matter. There is a major difference between a man beating his wife screaming “I’m going to kill you” versus a severely autistic 8 year old hitting someone because of difficulty regulating their emotions.

Cops should always be responsible for their actions. Sorry if that offends you but they’re human just like the rest of us and accountability matters in all parts of society, especially ones involving powers others do not have.

I really don’t like your dehumanizing rhetoric about mentally unwell people. The “wonderful loved one” absolutely exists, they just find themselves to also be the victim of their affliction. They’re probably suffering and in pain themselves. You can still have empathy and grace for them even as you take measures to protect others from their harmful behaviors.

George Floyd being “made into a saint” is just your reframing of the fact that he was essentially executed without trial by a cop despite no evidence of the commission of a crime that would carry the death penalty. George should have gotten a trial, judged by a jury of his peers and sentenced according to the law. Dozens of people who would have been in the process of determining the best way to handle the situation effectively bypassed by one person who was warned repeatedly that what he was doing to George was killing him. That is the reality of the situation you are trying to deny. If it were you being suffocated to death over a perceived minor crime, somehow I think your opinion might change slightly before your vision fades.

Judge Dredd is a good comic book but please leave your dystopia in the fiction aisle.

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