CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating an officer-involved shooting in downtown Charleston Thursday that happened after police responded to a reported armed robbery.
Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said John Street will remain closed between Meeting and Elizabeth Street as SLED agents process the scene. SLED agents have provided little details about the investigation so far and whether any arrests have been made.
The incident began to unfold when police responded at approximately 3 p.m. to a reported drug deal that turned into a robbery in the 200 block of King Street, Charleston Police spokesman Charles Francis said.
That robbery was reported to Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch at approximately 2:49 p.m. and dispatchers relayed a description of the robber to officers, he said. While canvassing the area of John and Elizabeth Streets, police saw a man matching the description standing next to a vehicle in a John Street parking lot, Francis said.
One of the officers gave a command for the driver to turn off the vehicle, but the vehicle accelerated toward the other assisting officers, he said. Francis said one of the officers fired at the vehicle, which then sped away from the scene.
Police do not know whether the driver was struck by gunfire. Calls to area hospitals have not turned up any reports of gunshot victims that might have been involved, police say.
The police officer who fired his weapon has been identified as Officer Cory Broadwater. Broadwater has been placed on paid administrative duty during the investigation, Francis said.
SLED would not confirm reports that two people had been taken into custody in connection with the investigation.
"Our work is continuing," SLED spokesman Thom Berry said. "It would be inappropriate to discuss any specific details at this time."
SLED agents were called to the scene Thursday afternoon, which is normal procedure when a local law enforcement officer fires a weapon.
"Our policy on shooting in the vehicles is really restrictive and what we need to do right now is gather all the facts about this incident and then we'll compare those facts to the policy," Mullen said. "As a result of that we called SLED which is our process. SLED is now here and they will take over all the criminal investigation that is occurring from the armed robbery to the officer involved shooting. SLED'S responsibility is to ensure that if there were any criminal violations that occurred that they will take that route and make sure that investigation is done completely."
Mullen said Charleston Police would perform an "administrative investigation," which looks at any policy issues or training issues that may need to be addressed. Mullen said no Charleston Police officers are involved in the criminal investigation.
Mullen also said placing Broadwater on administrative duty was a normal procedure.
On Jan. 26, 2016, Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon presented Broadwater with a commendation for Broadwater's help in apprehending a man who had been released in error from the Al Cannon Detention Center on Dec. 17, 2015. Broadwater located the man and apprehended him without incident, police said.
In a 2013 Facebook post, the Charleston Police Department said Broadwater had been selected as Knights of Columbus Police officer of the Year. At that time, he was listed as a 6-year veteran of the force.
Anyone with information is asked to call 843-743-7200 and ask for the on-duty Charleston Police detective or Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111.