BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Authorities have released video which shows a man firing at a Berkeley County deputy’s vehicle during a standoff which ended with the man’s death.
Officials with the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office said the man, identified as 51-year-old Joseph Hart, was killed after opening fire on deputies following a traffic stop on Waterfowl Lane in Huger in late February.
According to the sheriff’s office, Hart pinned the deputy behind the vehicle with gunfire for 30 minutes.
“He’s got a high powered rifle, he’s shooting at me!” said the responding deputy on the video.
The video shows Hart firing several times at the vehicle and response units arriving including the SWAT team.
Sheriff Duane Lewis said there was an attempt to get Hart to surrender, but Hart continued to fire, and deputies returned fire which ended in Hart’s death.
The sheriff’s office said there were no other injuries involved in the incident.
It happened on Feb. 26 when a deputy responded for a reported traffic disturbance in which a neighbor said a motorist took out a gun after the neighbor told him to stop speeding in the neighborhood.
A responding deputy then saw the suspect’s vehicle, turned around and spoke to the driver, identified as Hart.
According to the sheriff’s office, the driver then took cover, pulled out a gun and started firing on the deputy who called for additional units. Lewis said the deputy was pinned behind his sheriff’s vehicle for 30 minutes as the suspect shot at him.
According to Lewis, the deputy exchanged gunfire with the suspect who kept yelling “I’m going to finish you off” several times.
Multiple law enforcement agencies responded and attempted to set up a perimeter to assist the deputy in getting away from the scene, but the suspect continued to fire multiple rounds at law enforcement officers, the sheriff’s office said.
During that time, the suspect kept moving and constantly firing, according to Lewis. BCSO officials said at one point, the suspect said he was going to surrender to law enforcement.
“We had a dialogue with him at one point,” Lewis said."He was going to surrender, but refused."
Lewis said when deputies got close and made contact with the suspect, he opened fire at which point deputies returned fire and the suspect was killed.
The sheriff’s office said the suspect had multiple weapons including a shotgun, a high powered rifle, and handguns that were either found on him or in and around his vehicle.