SLED conducting full investigation into incident involving Dorchester Co. coroner

VIDEO: SLED conducting full investigation into incident involving Dorchester Co. coroner
Still of dash camera video. (Photo Source: Summerville PD)
Still of dash camera video. (Photo Source: Summerville PD)

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The State Law Enforcement Division has expanded a preliminary inquiry into a full investigation of an incident involving the Dorchester County coroner.

SLED spokesman Thom Berry confirmed the full investigation has been opened Friday morning.

The Summerville Police Department asked SLED on Tuesday to determine whether a full investigation was warranted following a "civil disturbance" that involved Dorchester County Coroner Chris Nisbet.

Police responded to a call in the area of Doty park at 12:42 a.m. Tuesday and found Nisbet on a street arguing with a second man. Nisbet had drawn a gun but it was pointed at the ground, according to an incident report.

Later that afternoon, Summerville police released dash camera footage of the incident.

"I would rather SLED investigate me then me have to investigate a poor and working man getting killed in my neighbor's yard," Nisbet said.

Summerville police said the incident involved Nisbet pulling a gun on a man, Leroy Fulton, who allegedly pulled a gun on a repo worker, John Mauldin. Fulton and Nisbet are neighbors.

The report states Mauldin attempted to tow away a 2009 Chevy Silverado that belonged to Fulton. Mauldin told police he went to Fulton's door and told him he was there to repossess the vehicle, at which point Mauldin said Fulton pointed a gun at him and said, "You can leave now or die." Mauldin said he left the yard and contacted Summerville police.

Nisbet told police he was pulling into his driveway when he saw a tow truck pull into Fulton's yard. He said he saw the owner of the truck walk up to the repo driver and point something at the driver, which Nisbet told police he believed was a gun.

He said Mauldin then got into his tow truck and left, the report states. Nisbet said he approached Mauldin and asked what had happened. As the two talked, they say Fulton left his home, got into his truck and attempted to leave the scene.

Mauldin and his girlfriend, who was in the tow truck during the incident, claimed Fulton stopped alongside their vehicle and threatened to shoot them if they followed him.

Nisbet told police he got back into his truck, activated his blue lights and went after Fulton, pulling in front of him to block his path in front of Doty Park. Nisbet said he pulled his weapon and demanded Fulton stop the vehicle, adding he pulled his weapon because he did not know whether the man was armed. Police arrived after Nisbet had exited his vehicle and approached Fulton, the report states.

Nisbet continued to hold his weapon, not complying with multiple verbal commands he was being given, the report states. Police say after about 15 seconds, Nisbet complied and placed his firearm on the ground and backed away from it. One of the officers reported smelling the odor of alcohol coming from Nisbet's person, the report states.

Fulton told police the only thing in his hand was his cell phone, which he dropped as he got out of the vehicle because Nisbet was pointing a gun at him.

Fulton admitted to owning two guns but said neither was with him, the report states. Authorities searched his vehicle and found no sign of a weapon.

They also searched an area along the road where Nisbet, Mauldin and Mauldin's girlfriend claimed to have seen the driver throw something from the vehicle, but police could find no sign of anything, the report states.

Fulton was transported home by officers and Mauldin took possession of the vehicle.

Fulton denied pulling a gun on Mauldin when Mauldin came to his door.

"I would never pull a gun on anyone unless it's a threat to myself," Fulton said. "I guess he saw it on the chair or the arm of the chair."

Nisbet was placed in handcuffs until police figured out what was going on.

Under state law, a coroner is not allowed to act as a deputy, so Summerville has asked for a SLED investigation.

The day after the incident, the National Action Network called for SLED to conduct a full investigation and released a statement that read, in part, "National action Network is not going to stand by while a Dorchester County Corner is overstepping his boundaries."

No arrests were made in the incident.

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