NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - North Charleston Police Department Chief Jon Zumalt says that a police officer, who reported getting shot during a struggle with a suspect, made up the story.
On Friday evening, Zumalt announced that Sgt. Eddie Bullard has been suspended without pay pending an internal investigation. Zumalt said Bullard admitted to shooting himself and that no other people were involved in the incident.
"Today, I became worried that it didn't happen as the officer reported it. He came in and we talked to him and this afternoon we learned that it didn't happen," Zumalt said. "He wasn't attacked, nobody was back there, he shot himself."
Bullard originally reported that he was shot during a struggle with a suspect on July 4. Zumalt said an investigation revealed no one else was involved in the shooting incident.
"At the scene there wasn't anything that corroborated what he was telling us," Zumalt said. "There wasn't any evidence of a struggle. We just could find zero evidence...It was like a dead zone and I couldn't allow my workforce to hunt for ghosts."
A North Charleston Police Department report released on Thursday states Bullard said that there were two black male suspects involved in the shooting incident on Wednesday.
Bullard says he was trying to talk to one of the suspects in the area of 6929 Rivers Avenue, which is the location of Carpet Wholesalers. According to Bullard, the other suspect came from behind the officer and struggled with the officer's weapon.
Bullard said the first suspect took off after the officer fired a round from his gun. According to Bullard, during the struggle with the second suspect, he was able to drop his gun clip before he was shot.
A spokesman for the North Charleston Police Department says Bullard was hit in the lower area of his bullet-proof vest.
Zumalt said on Friday that potential charges against Bullard are possible as SLED investigates the incident.
"We knew [Bullard] was having some trouble at home and that kind of thing. But nothing would indicate that this kind of thing would happen and we watch for that," Zumalt said. "We are worried about his psychological well being. He's very troubled. Otherwise, no one else would do something like this."
Bullard is a 15-year veteran with the North Charleston Police Department.
"I'm sorry to the community, but people have to understand we didn't wait, we had a hunch, we acted on that hunch and we wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing for our community and our department," Zumalt said. "If we've got somebody in our community that isn't doing the right thing, we vet it out ourselves and we did that. And I'm proud of the agency for doing that."