Charleston County marks 7 years since deputy was killed in line of duty

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 9:29 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A blue light marks seven years since the day a Charleston County deputy was fatally shot while responding to a disturbance in West Ashley.

Deputy Joseph Matuskovic, 43, died after being shot at an apartment complex at Ashley River Road and Carriage Lane on Sept. 8, 2014.

The incident began at approximately 7:36 p.m. that evening when two off-duty deputies working as security officers and three on-duty deputies responded to a report of a disorderly man at the Gardens of Ashley River apartment complex.

đź’™ Today, only the monument for Deputy Joe Matuskovic is lit blue in the Charleston County Fallen Officer Memorial...

Posted by Charleston County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Deputies said the man went inside his apartment and opened fire through the door with an AK-47-style rifle as deputies tried to make contact with him.

Matuskovic and a second deputy, Michael Ackerman, were both wounded.

Matuskovic died at 8:37 p.m. on Monday at MUSC.

A post on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page states the Charleston Police Department’s SWAT team entered the home hours later and found the killer dead. Deputies said he had been shot at least twice by return gunfire.

The county suffered a second loss during the incident, when Larry Britton, 58, a Charleston County employee who worked with the radio shop and was serving the responding law enforcement officers in a support capacity, fell ill and died of natural causes.

Bystanders watched the funeral procession for fallen Charleston County Deputy Joe Matuskovic on...
Bystanders watched the funeral procession for fallen Charleston County Deputy Joe Matuskovic on Sept. 15, 2014.(Live 5/File)

Days later, law enforcement agencies from around the state attended Matuskovic’s funeral and burial service. Some of them came from Matuskovic’s hometown in New York.

They all stood together listening silently as Charleston County Dispatchers issued one final call for the fallen deputy: “Dispatch to all units be advised, 173 has ended his tour of duty. May he rest in peace.”

Ackerman later recovered from his wounds and would address state lawmakers in 2016 to push for first responders to be covered under Workers’ Compensation and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Matuskovic was a 17-year law enforcement veteran. He joined the sheriff’s office in 2011. Prior to that, from 1997 to 2011, he worked with the Charleston Police Department. Deputies said Matuskovic was a negotiator and a field trainer, a position then-Assistant Sheriff Mitch Lucas said was reserved for the best among law enforcement officers.

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