COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Police in South Carolina killed a man wanted on a murder charge in Virginia and a man being investigated for a possible burglary in separate shootings about 19 hours apart.
The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the killings, both of white men. South Carolina has now had 28 police shootings in 2016, matching the pace of last year’s 15-year high of 48.
The first involved a Lexington County deputy, investigating a man found asleep in a car on a dirt road southeast of Columbia at about 7 a.m. Monday. After the officer spoke to the man, he started his car and drove at the deputy, striking him in the knees, Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon told reporters.
The officer then fired his weapon, killing 43-year-old Bryan Byrd, Coroner Margaret Fisher said.
Byrd was wanted for burglary and pointing a firearm charges, although the officer did not know it at the time, investigators said. The name of the officer, a six-year veteran on the force, was not released.
About 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, two officers in Lake City came under fire from a man they pulled over in a stolen car on U.S. Highway 52, one of the busiest roads in the city of 7,000 people. The man came out shooting at officers, who fired back, interim Lake City Police Chief Jeff Johnson said. He did not identify the officers.
The officers escaped injury, but Richard London died of his wounds at a hospital about two hours later, Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken said in a news release. London, 22, turned out to be wanted for murder in Danville, Virginia.
Police said in a news release that London killed 80-year-old Melvin Powell in his home Sunday and stole his car. They called Powell’s death “violent,” but didn’t release additional details on how the men knew each other or how Powell was killed.
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