Richland County, SC (WLTX) - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says a new DNA technology tool helped his department make an arrest in an attempted murder case.
Lott spoke Wednesday about the investigation, which he says was solved in part with the agency's recently acquired RapidHit Human DNA Identification System.
Back on July 29th, officers say 23-year-old Brandon Berry pointed a gun at a man along Oakcrest Drive. The two began struggling, and during the fight, Berry fired several shots at the victim, hitting him in the lower body.
The victim was taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
Later that same day, officers say they pulled over a driver who wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Deputies say while looking inside the car, the officer saw a child unrestrained in the back of the vehicle and Berry in the passenger seat. While the officer was talking with the driver, deputies say Berry slid into the driver's seat and started driving away with the vehicle and the child inside. A short distance later, Lott says Berry put the vehicle in reverse, then ran out of the car and into the woods.
Officers were able to capture the man, and the child was rescued from the vehicle.
When officers examined Berry's clothes, they say the found the victim's DNA on them, which they were able to positively identify with RapidHit. Detectives were also able to match the gun used in the crime to the one recovered on Berry when he was arrested.
Richland County got the DNA tool, which allows agencies to get a DNA result in 90 minutes, back in February. They're the first law enforcement agency in the country to receive that particular device, and received it from a donation from the company that makes it.