Colleton County Fire-Rescue treated three shooting victims, one a Deputy Sheriff, beginning at 12:56 pm, February 21st. The initial incident lead to a high-speed police chase and a 3-hour standoff between a Walterboro man and multiple Law Enforcement officers.
It all began as a 9-1-1 hang-up call at a residence in the 600 block of Sharpe Lane in the rural Sniders Community in western Colleton County. Sgt. Jackie Lawson, a veteran Officer assigned to a traffic unit, was close to the location and responded to the call. Within five minutes, neighbors alerted 9-1-1 that shots are heard at the residence. Sgt. Lawson stops a vehicle leaving the scene and is shot by a passenger in the car. The injured Lawson avoids a second round by diving behind a vehicle. The suspect flees the scene in Lawson’s marked Dodge Charger Sheriff’s cruiser. Lawson radios that he is shot and relays information to other officers. Meanwhile a female at the scene with three bullet wounds is located.
Medic 18, Medic 27, Battalion 1, Engine 801, Engine 1801, Squad 1902 and 2 Chiefs responded to the scene. Law Enforcement officers spot Lawson’s Patrol Car running with blue lights activated east bound on Hwy 63 heading towards Walterboro. Units give chase with speeds verified at 147 mph. The departments other patrol units are no match for Lawson’s Dodge Charger, the only one in the Sheriff’s fleet. Deputies and State Troopers lose site of the Charger as it enters the City of Walterboro, but a State Trooper spots the car several minutes later south of town on Peniel Road. Multiple units converge on the area and locate the Charger ditched behind the suspect’s father’s home in the 20 block of Peniel Road. The suspect fires on officers as the approach the house. Officers return fire hitting the suspect several times in both legs. He barricades himself inside the home. Additional police units were called to the scene as Law Enforcement Officers sealed off the area.
Back at the shooting site, Lawson and a young woman are treated and packaged on Sharpe Lane. Two medical helicopters were requested, with a Landing Zone set up in a large field two miles from the shooting scene. The Meducare Helicopter arrived first and transported the woman, who had wounds to her face, chest and arm. Lifenet arrived about 8 minutes later and transported Sgt. Lawson, who suffered a shoulder wound. Both patients were flown to the SC Medical University Trauma Center (MUSC) in Charleston, SC.
Medic 19 was assigned to the standoff on Peniel Road. Multiple Law Enforcement agencies responded to Peniel Road, including Colleton County, City of Walterboro, Beaufort County, Hampton County, Charleston County, Dorchester County, SC Highway Patrol, State Law Enforcement and State Wildlife. Two Charleston County Sheriff’s Office helicopters and two State Police Helicopters landed near the scene. Charleston County’s SWAT Team also responded, deploying snipers in the wooded areas around the residence.
Fire-Rescue was requested to set up the Command Post in nearby Summer Glen Subdivision for officers to manage the scene at a safe distance. Additional Firefighter-Paramedics stood by at the Command Post. After a 3-hour standoff, the suspect surrendered. Fire-Rescue treated him at the scene for multiple gun shot wounds to his legs. He was transported with a police escort, by Fire-Rescue Medic 19 directly from the scene to the Trauma Center at MUSC in Charleston approximately 55 miles away.
All three patients were treated at MUSC and are expected to survive. Lawson is presently listed in stable condition.
Engine 801, Engine 1801, Medic 18, Medic 19, Medic 27, Squad 1902, Truck 11, Truck 12, Truck 16, Truck 108, Haz Mat/Command 1906 and Battalion 1 responded. Asst. Chief David Greene served as Incident Commander at the Sniders Site, while Battalion Chief Rich Ellis served at the unified Command Post on Peniel Road.
Written and photos by Fire Chief Barry McCroy