Local chaplain: Network of support in place for loved ones, deputies

Local chaplain: Network of support in place for loved ones, deputies

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A local chaplain is reaching out as loved ones and the Charleston County Sheriff's Office cope with Monday night's tragic shooting. Deputy Joe Matuskovic was killed, Deputy Michael Ackerman seriously injured, and Charleston County employee Larry Britton died of natural causes while assisting during the nine hour ordeal.

"We've been violated. This is not supposed to happen, and we just need to keep the families and first responders in our prayers."

Chaplain Rob Dewey was among the first to arrive at MUSC Monday night, comforting loved ones and fellow deputies who waited anxiously.

"It's a tragedy that shouldn't have happened, and it makes me mad that it has happened. It hurts that we're having to go through this as a community."

Dewey has guided many law enforcement agencies through difficult times. He says it's very important that deputies not pull away from others as they cope.

"I've heard several officers say today how important it is for them not to isolate themselves but to reach out for other officers or to the mental health community or the chaplaincy."

He says the bond that exists within the law enforcement community is very strong, and the loss of a fellow service member is like losing family.

"First responders spend more time with each other and their partners than a lot of times they do with family members…it's like losing a brother or sister."

Dewey says the next few days and weeks will be especially trying.

"We have two funerals coming up, and we still have an officer who's in the hospital. So, I would plead with the community to reach out to our first responders and also keep them in your prayers."