Sheriff says he slapped, cursed at high-speed chase suspect

Suspect Timothy McManus, left, and Sheriff Al Cannon.
Suspect Timothy McManus, left, and Sheriff Al Cannon.

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said Wednesday that he slapped and cursed at a high speed chase suspect earlier this week while he was handcuffed in the back of a police car.

Cannon held a press conference and announced that he slapped suspect Timothy McManus after McManus said "aint nothin wrong with me man." Cannon says he felt obligated to come forward to reveal he slapped McManus.

"I went over to the car, I opened the back door and I asked him -- I used a profane word -- I asked him what the (blank) was wrong with him," Cannon said. "And he replied with 'ain't nothing wrong with me' and I slapped him with my open hand. I said 'you could've killed a lot of people out there today' and I slammed the door."

On Monday, deputies say McManus led Cannon and several deputies on a 25-mile chase at speeds in excess of 100 mph. McManus is behind bars after a judge set bond at $102,550. Cannon and others had to fire shots at his vehicle to end the pursuit.

Cannon said he called the press conference on Wednesday to specifically talk about slapping McManus and what he thought of his actions.

"In retrospect that was wrong, it's not something I would accept with my folks and it's clearly not something I would accept of myself," Cannon said."The most valuable asset that anyone has is your reputation and your name...I felt obligated to come forward. This was my obligation and duty to do."

Investigators charged McManus, 31, with failure to stop for blue lights and sirens, reckless driving, driving under suspension third-offense and resisting arrest.

It took the combined forces of Cannon, several of his deputies, a K-9 unit and bullets to stop what investigators call McManus' "reckless rampage."

The sheriff's office says that McManus continued to resist arrest and attempted to spit on a deputy following a high speed chase from Mt. Pleasant to Awendaw during which the sheriff and his deputies fired multiple shots to stop McManus.

Cannon said the incident began around 10 a.m. when he tried to stop a pick-up truck that was driving erratically on Highway 17 in Mt. Pleasant. The sheriff said he turned on his blue lights and the truck driver hit the gas at speeds exceeding 100 mph.

When the chase hit Awendaw, the sheriff grabbed his gun as the guy came at his car.

SLED officials say they are investigating the shooting which is standard procedure but would not comment on any aspect of the active investigation.

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