SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Dorchester County Sheriff L.C. Knight says a 24-year-old man who was fatally shot by deputies did not follow authorities' commands to drop his weapon following a car chase that ended in Summerville.
"We are not in the business of going out and hurting and killing people," Knight said on Monday."We are out to protect people."
Knight said his heart goes out to Shamir Terrel Palmer of Ridgeville who died early Saturday morning.
According to Knight, three deputies fired on Palmer; Knight announced on Monday the deputies are all on paid administrative leave. Knight also said that SLED did recover a gun believed to be Palmer's at the scene on Schultz Lake Road.
"We train and react to situations and this was a situation where this young man apparently did not want to abide what he was asked to do," Knight said.
Officials with the sheriff's office says their department does not have body cameras, but the shooting appeared to have been caught by dash cameras which SLED will be reviewing.
Knight said following the shooting a deputy was transported to the hospital for chest pains.
"It's hard on [deputies] too," Knight said."They don't put equipment on in the morning and say,'I'm going to do things like this.' It's terrible and bad for everybody in the agency, everybody in the community. It's not just what we're here to do."
James Johnson with the National Action Network said on Monday that he wanted to know if Palmer had gun residue on his hand.
"We know many black males have been shot for holding a cellphone in their hand," Johnson said."We want transparency in this case. We want [the sheriff's office] to produce the evidence that this young man had a gun."
The Dorchester County Sheriff's Office also released two incident reports on Monday on the shooting from two deputies who responded.
In the first report, a deputy said he responded to assist Highway Patrol with a car chase on Boone Hill Road at 10:28 a.m. The deputy reported he was advised by emergency personnel that someone in the vehicle had shot a gun at Highway Patrol during the pursuit.
A DCSO report states the deputy was also told the vehicle also fit a description of a car that had been involved in an unrelated shooting earlier in Ridgeville.
The deputy said after he spotted the suspect's vehicle and activated his emergency lights, the suspect continued down Central Avenue towards Orangeburg Road at "approximately 101 mph."
According to a report, Palmer slowed down his vehicle after spotting a deputy's car ahead, authorities say stop sticks had been deployed, and turned his car on Schultz Lake Road where he lost control and spun head on into a tree.
The deputy reported he saw the vehicle back up and continue down the road where it eventually pulled into a yard and crashed into a wooded area. Authorities say Palmer was able to drive his car back onto the road where the responding deputy reported "[Palmer] was attempting to drive towards me and continue to flee but his vehicle quit moving. I could hear the engine revving but it did not move."
The deputy said after he got out of his vehicle to make contact with Palmer, he could see Palmer get out of his vehicle and heard "deputies yelling and I then heard several gunshots."
According to the deputy, he was in or near the line of fire and could not engage Palmer safely and "had no choice but to take cover at the front of my patrol car."
After deputies had cleared the vehicle, the deputy said he saw deputies around Palmer who were performing CPR "and EMS was immediately requested."
The deputy said after EMS arrived, EMS and deputies continued to render aid, then placed the subject in the ambulance where he was pronounced deceased shortly thereafter.
In the second report released by DCSO, another deputy who responded to the chase, reported hearing on the radio that shots had been fired. Once he arrived on scene, the deputy said he saw deputies and medical personnel performing first aid while transporting a subject to the ambulance.
According to SLED, a trooper with the Highway Patrol tried to stop a vehicle in the area of Summerville, unaware that the occupant had been involved in a shooting to which Dorchester deputies responded.
SLED says the vehicle did not stop, and the Highway Patrol officer began a pursuit through several neighborhoods. Officials at SLED say at one point the vehicle slowed down, two passengers jumped out of the moving vehicle and the driver turned and fired shots at the trooper.
The trooper then stopped and arrested the suspects who had jumped from the vehicle, SLED says.
SLED officials say the driver continued, and deputies continued to pursue the vehicle.