CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office has cleared three deputies of any criminal wrongdoing following the death of an Andrews man in December.
In an announcement made Monday, an investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division found no evidence of criminal behavior from deputies Drew Wynans, William McWethy or Jerome Maybank.
The deputy-involved shooting occurred on Dec. 10, 2019, in the 100 block of Gator Lane. Kreed Cornell Bateman, 31, was shot and killed during an investigation for a report of a domestic disturbance.
Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jason Lesley said the deputies were in the process of investigating the incident when deputies exchanged fire with Cornell and he was killed.
“I am sorry that my deputies and the family of Kreed Bateman will forever be affected by Bateman’s actions on that night. I am proud of the bravery exhibited by the deputies involved and their will to survive this deadly attack,” Sheriff Carter Weaver said.
Alicia Richardson, a deputy solicitor with the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, reviewed the investigative report and the autopsy and toxicology reports from the medical examiner before making her decision.
“It is clear from your work that the subject armed himself with a handgun and fired at the responding officers while he was resisting a lawful arrest,” Richardson stated.
She said deputies had probable cause to arrest Mr. Bateman for Domestic Violence, 2nd Degree, for assaulting the mother of his children in their presence. Initially, Mr. Bateman was wearing a white tank top, but when officers returned after talking with the victim, he had on a black t-shirt concealing a ballistic vest, according to a press release from the Georgetown Co. Sheriff’s Office.
Richardson said evidence verifies the subject fired a handgun at the deputies first. An assault rifle and ammunition box were within his reach. After the deputies responded with gunfire to protect their lives, they radioed for emergency medical services. The subject was wounded in the initial exchange of gunfire but was able to move, stand and communicate. Deputies repeatedly ordered Mr. Bateman to show his hands and allow medical treatment. He refused and made a sudden movement to retrieve his weapon.
“The deputies responded to this lethal threat with gunfire,” Richardson said. “Substantial evidence exists to show this subject was intent on using deadly force upon the officers to resist arrest and that the subject was willing to die to avoid arrest.”