Cop accused of shooting ex-mayor had previous encounter, chief says

Former Cottageville Mayor Bert Reeves was shot and killed Monday
Former Cottageville Mayor Bert Reeves was shot and killed Monday
Police investigate Monday's fatal shooting.
Police investigate Monday's fatal shooting.
Authorities say a Cottageville police officer shot and killed the former mayor.
Authorities say a Cottageville police officer shot and killed the former mayor.

COTTAGEVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Police Chief John Craddock says that Officer Randall Price, who is accused of fatally shooting former Cottageville Mayor Albert Reeves, had a previous encounter with Reeves over an employee being charged.

According to investigators, Reeves was shot once in the chest and killed Monday. The police report lists the incident as an aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and lists Reeves as a suspect.

"It's just a tragic set of circumstances and that's why we want SLED to take a look, so that we know that a proper investigation was done and we got the answers that we need to have," Craddock said.

The chief revealed that Reeves apparently had a prior beef with Price over an incident that happened back in March.

"Officer Price arrested one of Mr. Reeves' employees on a charge and Mr. Reeves wasn't very happy with the charge," Craddock said.

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the shooting. Authorities say Reeves was shot on Nuthatch Lane after an altercation with Price. Reeves was taken to Colleton Medical Center with a gunshot wound, where he was pronounced dead.

SLED was requested by the Cottageville Police Department, according to SLED spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons. The Colleton County Sheriff's Office is assisting in the investigation.

According to employment records obtained from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, Price has been fired from four previous jobs with police departments.

He was fired from the McCormick County Sheriff's Office in 1999 for unsafe driving. Just a year later, Price was fired from the Wagener Police Department in 2000 for insubordination.

Price was again fired in 2001, this time from the Aiken County Sheriff's Office for criminal domestic violence. Records show Price completed a pre trial program that wiped the charge from his record.

The officer was fired from the Blackville Police Department in 2006 after repeated complaints of excessive force. Price was hired by the Cottageville Police Department in 2008.

"He's proven himself with the Cottageville Police Department," Craddock said. "He's done a good job, so I guess he got a second chance."

Reeves was born and raised in Cottageville. Reeves had previous run-ins with the law. In 2006, he was ticketed for allegedly driving 103 mph in a 55 mph zone. That charge was later dropped. A few months later, Reeves was seriously injured in a car accident.

Toxicology reports did not find any alcohol in his blood, but did find trace amounts of THC, a chemical found in marijuana. Reeves resigned as mayor later that same year.

This is the second officer-involved shooting this month. The other was in Eutawville, where an officer shot 54-year-old Bernard Bailey, in front of the town hall.

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