The man police suspected in the attempted murder of a Berkeley County deputy was identified through a DNA match, and was fatally shot by police after opening fire on them, authorities say.
Jerome Thomas Caldwell, 32, of Mount Pleasant, died after a 10-hour standoff, according to Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten. Caldwell was pronounced dead at 1:59 p.m., Wooten said.
Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said at 1:47 p.m. Thursday, Caldwell came out of the rear of the apartment in which he had been holed up since approximately 4 a.m. and fired multiple shots at police officers. The officers returned fire, fatally striking Caldwell, Mullen said.
On Thursday afternoon, Caldwell’s mother said she spoke on the phone to her son while he was inside the apartment and right before he decided to come out. According to the mother, Caldwell, who lived in Mount Pleasant, was in downtown because he was visiting his child in the hospital.
Caldwell’s mother said her son asked her to turn him over to investigators so the family would get the reward money.
Mullen said police negotiators were in contact with Caldwell throughout the day by telephone. Mullen also said shots had been heard inside the apartment throughout the day during those negotiations.
“Throughout these negotiations, there were discussions about shooting police officers, there were discussions about committing suicide, and there were also discussions about several demands that were made,” Mullen said. “As we talked with this individual, our goal was to have him come out peaceably, and this situation end without any incident.”
Mullen reiterated this was preliminary information in a fluid situation.
“There’s been a lot of developments that have occurred, and we are working with SLED,” Mullen said. “They are here on the scene, their crime scene is here, and they will be handling the investigation as we go forward. The police department will continue to cooperate in any way that we can.”
Mullen sent out their sympathies to Caldwell’s family, who he said would be receiving regular updates from police as the investigation continues.