The suspect took the self-inflicted taxpayer relief shot.
A Berkeley County deputy is “in good spirits” after being shot and wounded while checking a car she considered suspicious early Friday morning, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The suspect holed up in a North Charleston house and fatally shot himself after a standoff, according to police. He was identified as Travis Smith, 36, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the Charleston County Coroner’s Office said.
The deputy, Cpl. Kimber Gist, has been with the department for two and a half years and on road patrol for just over a year.
“Gist is in good spirits and is thankful for all the thoughts and prayers,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
Sheriff Duane Lewis said at an afternoon news conference that Gist was shot during a gunfight with a suspect during the few minutes she took to check on the car.
“I don’t know why someone would resort to a gunfight with a law enforcement officer,” he said. “We’re seeing that more and more all over the country. It’s one of those terrible trends that we’re worried about.”
The State Law Enforcement Division is handling the investigation. In a statement, the Sheriff’s Office released a few details about what happened.
Shortly before 12:30 a.m., Gist pulled behind the Food Lion shopping center off Red Bank Road to check a car she considered suspicious. It was not immediately clear what had caught her attention. Two people were in the car.
Gist reported that she had someone in custody. That person, Lewis said, ended up being just a witness to what happened next.
The deputy called out that she and another suspect were in a fight, then lost radio contact. A citizen reported that a deputy had been shot, and Gist was taken to a hospital.
Gist was wearing body armor and was shot several times. The Sheriff’s Office did not say how many times or where she was shot.
She fired her weapon during the struggle. The suspect was bleeding when he left the scene, but it’s not been determined if the deputy shot him or if he shot himself during the struggle, Deputy Chief Mike Cochran said.