CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Tuesday marks one year since Charleston County Deputy Joe Matuskovic was shot and killed during a standoff at a West Ashley apartment complex.
The Charleston County Sheriff's Office released the following statement in remembrance of Deputy Matuskovic:
Today, Sept. 8, 2015, marks one year that Charleston County Sheriff Deputy Joseph Matuskovic was killed in the line of duty while assisting his fellow deputies with investigating a disturbance call at an apartment in West Ashley. During this tragic event, Deputy Michael Ackerman was also shot and wounded. To this day, Deputy Ackerman continues his long road to recovery. Deputy Matuskovic is deeply missed by his family and fellow deputies. He was indeed a good and dedicated "public servant" who is gone but will never be forgotten.
In remembrance of Deputy Matuskovic, members of the Charleston County Sheriff's Office held private events in honor of "Joe." These events consisted of an early morning mass service that was held at Blessed Sacrament Church, a department breakfast with Joe's squad and family, and finally a Wreath was laid at Deputy Matuskovic's burial by members of the Sheriff's Office Honor Guard. Deputy Matuskovic was laid to rest at Old Saint Andrews Parish Church.
According to CCSO investigators, the incident started at 7:36 p.m. on Sep. 8, when two off-duty deputies working as security officers, with three on-duty deputies assisting, responded to a report of a disorderly subject creating a disturbance at the Gardens of Ashley River apartment complex.
The person was reportedly banging on doors and vehicles in the parking lot, deputies say. According to deputies on scene, an attempt was made to make contact with a subject at his apartment.
While deputies were attempting to make contact, the subject, later identified as Michael Oswald, fired multiple gunshots through the door with an AK-47, striking Matuskovic and fellow Deputy Michael Ackerman, a report stated. The rounds pierced the soft body armor Matuskovic was wearing, Sheriff Al Cannon said.
One resident said he heard several gunshots before hearing someone yell out "officer down." Another reported hearing the sound of about 20 gunshots.
Both of the deputies who were wounded were on duty at the time and had been called into assist the two off-duty officers.
Hours into the crisis, after making several unsuccessful attempts to reach the suspect, the Charleston Police Department SWAT Team made entry into the unit with the help of a robot and spotted Michael Oswald, 38, unresponsive, Charleston County Asst. Sheriff Mitch Lucas said.
Matuskovic, 43, died at 8:37 p.m. at MUSC, according to Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten. Ackerman underwent surgery for a bullet wound to the leg.
During the standoff, 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, Wooten said.
Charleston County Director of Radio Communications Bill Tunick says Britton went to the scene to help the sheriff's office and joint command. He suffered from an apparent heart complication and was taken to MUSC by EMS.
More than 1,000 family members, friends, and law enforcement officers attended the deputy's funeral. The turnout delayed the service for nearly an hour.
A tribute to Matuskovic's memory in the week after his death prompted residents to illuminate their porches with blue light. The tribute was so popular stores across the Lowcountry reported selling out of blue bulbs.
Matuskovic was hired by the sheriff's office in 2011. Prior to that, from 1997 to 2011, he worked with the Charleston Police Department, Lucas said. Matuskovic was a negotiator and a field trainer, Lucas said, a position reserved for the best among law enforcement officers.