COLUMBIA, S.C. – A deputy in South Carolina who was immobilized behind his SUV for 17 minutes continued to talk to the suspect to save time for a rescue team, Berkeley County sheriff Duane Lewis said on Wednesday.
Lewis said that he could only thank God that the NCO and other officers fired Tuesday afternoon were not injured. MPs killed the suspect, identified by the coroner's office as Joseph Hart, 51 years old.
"The number of shots this guy has made on MPs and police officers, it's a miracle that no one is killed on our side," Lewis said at a press conference Wednesday.
The confrontation began after a neighbor complained that Hart was making his way to a street in Huger, about 40 km northeast of Charleston, officials said.
Hart pulled out a gun, the neighbor called 911 and when a Berkeley County MP arrived, Hart hid himself to shoot the MP and the officer did not could withdraw safely, said Lewis.
According to the sheriff, the MP and Hart started shouting while they were shooting at each other.
"He was trying to have a dialogue with this suspect in my estimate to try to save time to take over," the sheriff said of the MP.
Lewis said it had taken another officer 17 minutes to get to the area, which is so rural that there is no reliable cell phone service.
But then, the officers came from everywhere. The sheriff estimated that 60 officers were in the area at the time Hart, hiding under a shed, announced that he would surrender.
Hart shot a member who was about to arrest him and was killed by police more than 30 minutes after the start of the shooting, the sheriff said.
The sheriff's office sent a photo on Twitter of a police vehicle with over a dozen bullet holes on Twitter.
Lewis said MPs still did not know much about Hart, who had no permanent address and resided with friends in the area. They do not know what started it on Tuesday.
Four officers who fired with their weapons were put on leave by the state's Law Enforcement Division, said Lewis, who had not revealed their names.
Lewis said the deputy who was grounded was calm during the shooting and immediately thereafter.
"After the conversation, when I talked to him and I had a little time with him, I think it all started for him how much he is about to lose his life," Lewis said. .