CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The mother of the suspect shot and killed after a standoff with Charleston police says her son was trying to negotiate terms of his surrender in a way that would benefit his family.
Investigators say DNA evidence linked 32-year-old Jerome Caldwell to the shooting of Berkeley County Sheriff's Deputy Will Rogers.
"Most people who know him wouldn't believe this is him," Michelle Caldwell-Allen, Jerome's mother said.
She spoke with him on the phone just minutes before he shot at police and was killed when they fired back.
"He told me he was at peace; that he wasn't scared," Caldwell-Allen said. "He wasn't angry."
Family members say he asked them to turn him in so that they could get the $11,000 of reward money.
"He was like, 'Yo, would you turn that person in? The money would help out you and the family,' Caldwell-Allen said. "I didn't know he was talking about him. At the end he was there trying to negotiate money and land for his children and he would give up."
Jerome Caldwell lived in Mt. Pleasant and has been married to Jane'vonna Caldwell for eight years.
"He was a sweet guy," Jane'vonna Caldwell said. "He loved his children."
He had seven young children. His wife says he was downtown at a friend's apartment because his one-year old son was at MUSC with pneumonia, the same hospital where Will Rogers is in critical but stable condition.
"They're going to remember him for what he did, but don't remember him because of that," Jane'vonna Caldwell said. "Remember him as a loving father. Remember him as a loving brother, as a loving son, as a caring person."
Both mother and wife say they are praying for Will Rogers and his family.
"I feel like he made a mistake, which he admitted to making that mistake," Jane'vonna Caldwell said. "He acknowledged it and he was deeply hurt by what he did."
"My deepest heartfelt sorrow and well wishes," Caldwell-Allen said. "This is not to negate any pain and suffering your family might be going through. My son felt that a life for a life."
Caldwell had three prior arrests for stealing electricity, shoplifting and driving a car without a license, but no history of violent crimes.