WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC) - The Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office confirmed Thursday it did not plan to pursue criminal charges against a Colleton County deputy in a March shooting that killed a 22-year-old man.
The incident happened on March 22 when a Colleton County deputy fatally shot 22-year-old Derek Smith while responding to a reported burglary.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division began an investigation of the incident, which is normal procedure when a law enforcement officer fires a weapon.
After reviewing the SLED report on the incident, 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone stated in a letter to SLED that he saw “no evidence that would substantiate any general sessions charges” against the deputy.
“She appears to have acted appropriately given the facts and circumstances,” he wrote.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Colleton County Sheriff R.A. Strickland said the deputy arrived at a church parking lot and encountered Smith, who pulled out a knife. Strickland said the deputy tried to resolve the situation peacefully but was ultimately forced to fire at Smith to protect and defend herself.
EMS took the Walterboro man to the Colleton County Medical Center where he died.
Smith was laid to rest eight days after the shooting. He was a graduate of Colleton County High School and was a proud member of the U.S. Army National Guard 1223rd Unit Engineering Company. Members of that unit served as pallbearers at Smith’s funeral.
It is normal procedure to call in SLED agents to investigate officer-involved shootings.
The agency investigates such incidents at the request of the law enforcement agency involved, providing an independent look at what happened.