FOREST ACRES, SC (WCSC/WIS) - The State Law Enforcement Division charged an Eastover man Wednesday afternoon with murder in the death of a Forest Acres police officer.
Jarvis Hall, 34, is charged with murder and also faces a charge of possession of a weapon during a violent crime, according to SLED spokesman Thom Berry.
SLED investigated the fatal shooting at the request of the Forest Acres Police Department after one of their officers was shot and killed while responding to a report of a suspicious person at a shopping mall.
The Forest Acres Police Department confirmed 32-year-old Officer Greg Alia died from wounds received while trying to apprehend the suspect.
Forest Acres Police Chief Gene Sealy confirmed at a noon press conference they were interviewing Hall.
MOBILE USERS: Click here for photos of Officer Alia.
Alia and two other Forest Acres Police Officers approached Hall outside the Richland Mall at about 8 a.m. after a nearby bank teller observed Hall sitting in a van in the parking lot and asked police to check it out, Sealy said.
Sealy said Hall was uncooperative and ran into the mall, with Alia chasing after him.
"He ran through Richland Mall, entered the door through Barnes and Noble," Sealy said. "A short ways into the mall, Officer Greg Alia encountered the individual in a struggle."
Sealy said during the struggle, Hall drew a handgun and shot Alia before other officers could come to his aid.
"The other two officers that were there with Officer Alia were able to subdue the individual and he is now in custody," Sealy said.
Sealy was somber during the press conference and called it a tragic day in Forest Acres. He said Alia, a seven-year veteran of the Forest Acres department, was a role model for the rest of the department.
"He came here as a fresh face," Sealy said. "He was a local young man. He was a graduate of Richland Northeast High School. He was a graduate of University of South Carolina. He wanted to be a police officer."
Alia leaves behind a wife and a baby boy. Sealy said Alia's parents also live in Forest Acres.
Within hours of the shooting, several GoFundMe and other charitable accounts for Alia's family were started and spread through the community.
"For me, it's really sad to know someone lost their life," Nicole Coleman, who works nearby, said. "Who wakes up in the morning thinking that they're going to lose their life? I think no one does. You shouldn't have to go out and always watch your back. You should feel safe in the community that you're in."
SLED says the case will be prosecuted by the Fifth Circuit Solicitor's Office.
If convicted on the murder charge, Hall faces the death penalty or a minimum of 30 years to life in prison. If convicted on the weapon charge, he faces another five years in prison, Berry said.