Retired St. Johns fire captain found dead after police chase on Wadmalaw Island

Published: Dec. 12, 2014 at 1:40 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 12, 2014 at 8:45 PM EST
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Source: Live 5 News
Source: Live 5 News

WADMALAW ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County Coroner's Office has identified a 54-year-old man who was found dead in his car Thursday night after a car chase with law enforcement.

Deputy Coroner Brittney W. Martin says Don Rivers, of Wadmalaw Island, died as a result of a self-incflicted gunshot wound. He was found inside his car in the area of Bears Bluff Road and Wampee Plantation Road.

Rivers was a Captain with the St. John's Fire District. He retired in 2012 after 28 years with the department. After his retirement, he was appointed as a Fire Commissioner for the St. Johns Fire District.

Police say the incident started as a domestic situation in the parking lot of the Walmart on Folly Road on James Island involving a vandalized vehicle.

According to Charleston police, a woman involved in the dispute said Rivers pulled out a gun and fired shots into her vehicle, at which point she fled.

Authorities say they attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle Rivers was driving, but he would not stop.

According to police, stop sticks were utilized, but Rivers drove over them and continued on until his vehicle stopped in the area of Bears Bluff Road on Wadmalaw Island.

Charles Francis with the Charleston Police Department said at one point a single gunshot was heard; Francis said no shots were fired by any deputy or police officer.

SWAT was then deployed and found Rivers dead in his car.

Along with law enforcement, emergency vehicles and paramedics responded to the scene. Bears Bluff Road had been shut down as authorities responded.

The incident is being investigated by SLED, according to the coroner's office. 

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