Crime & Courts

South Carolina Police Officer Critically Wounded In Shooting

“Ambush on patrol” linked to recent rash of violence in “ghost town” community?

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An officer with the Allendale, South Carolina police department was critically wounded on Saturday afternoon while responding to reports of a shooting in progress in this increasingly dangerous rural town located near the Palmetto State’s border with Georgia.

Initial reports indicate as many as 21 rounds were fired into the officer’s patrol vehicle as part of what law enforcement sources described as an ambush.

According to police, the shooting took place at the intersection of Raysor Road and Carroll Street – approximately six blocks southeast of the town center. The officer – who as of this writing has not been identified – was hit multiple times and had to be airlifted to a hospital in Augusta, Georgia for treatment.

Police indicated the officer was in stable condition but would require additional medical treatment.

What happened? Multiple sources within the law enforcement community told our media outlet the officer was “ambushed on patrol.” This account was confirmed by Allendale police chief Lawrence Wiggins in an interview with The (Barnwell, S.C.) People-Sentinel.

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(Allendale Police Department)

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“It appears as he was pulling up on the scene that he had been ambushed,” Wiggins told the paper.

The investigation into the shooting is being led by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), according to local authorities. The agency’s director of public information, Renée Wunderlich, confirmed the inquiry.

“SLED was requested on Saturday by the Allendale police department to investigate the attempted murder of a police officer,” Wunderlich said.

According to Wunderlich, SLED’s investigation is “active and ongoing.”

Only hours before the officer went down, local police pleaded with the public in the aftermath of two previous shootings that left three people wounded and one person – a 14-year-old girl – dead.

“A recent series of events has left the communities of Allendale, Fairfax, and Allendale County as a whole with a profound sense of sadness,” the message noted. “We cannot, as a community, accept or condone violence as a part of our culture. The most innocent in our communities are being hurt and lost to violence they don’t have a hand in. This is not acceptable.”

Three days ago (Thursday, April 25, 2024), two juveniles were wounded during a shooting in Allendale. Early Saturday morning, a 14-year-old girl was shot in her sleep after 15-20 rounds were fired into a home in nearby Fairfax, S.C. She was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at Allendale county hospital.

SLED is assisting local law enforcement with its investigation of the Fairfax shooting.

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According to police, the 14-year-old victim in that incident was the relative of a “possible suspect” in the shooting that wounded the two juveniles two days earlier.

Pastor Dexter Washington – a former Allendale resident who now lives in Atlanta – took to a local community forum to express his concern about “the recent violence that has plagued our streets.”

“It is evident that our beloved Allendale is facing challenges that threaten the safety and well-being of all who call this place home,” Washington wrote.

Washington implored residents to unite and “reclaim our community from the grip of violence.”

As of this writing, no arrests have been made in connection with any of these incidents – nor have any suspects been named. Anyone with information about any of these events is encouraged to reach out to Allendale police at 803- 584-2178 or via email at at@allendalepolice.com. Anonymous tips are accepted.

Allendale is home to approximately 2,400 people. Located 70 miles south of the state capital of Columbia, it is the seat of Allendale County – which is South Carolina’s smallest county in terms of population with only 7,400 residents.

A decade ago, Allendale was described as a “ghost town” by famed travel writer Paul Theroux in his book Deep South: Four Seasons On Back Roads. According to Theroux, the town was “poor, neglected (and) hopeless-looking, a vivid failure.”

And an increasingly dangerous one, it would appear …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

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 and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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2 comments

River Top fan April 28, 2024 at 7:19 pm

Sending prayers for this officer and his family.

Reply
MaryContrary Top fan April 29, 2024 at 9:15 am

It is a sad time in history when these small, once peaceful, rural counties are overrun with drugs, violence and gangs.

Reply

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