Richland County, SC (WLTX) - The deputy coroner of Richland County shot another county employee, tried to shoot a woman, then killed himself, according to Sheriff Leon Lott.
Lott laid out the latest details in a fatal shooting that happened Tuesday in Hopkins during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
The incident happened outside a home in the 1500 block of Clarkson Road in Hopkins at 12:30 on Tuesday.
According to Lott, Deputy Coroner Leonard Bradley went to the home, where he encountered Levi Brown, a Richland County litter control officer (a member of law enforcement) and a woman. Lott said Bradley had been having some sort of personal relationship with the woman.
At the time, Brown was having a conversation with the woman outside the home. Lott says Brown and the woman were acquaintances, and Brown was there in uniform and in his patrol vehicle.
"They exchanged words and then then he started shooting at the female and Mr. Brown," said Sheriff Lott.
Brown, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest because he's a law enforcement officer, was hit by gunfire in the arm.
"We think that probably saved his life," Lott said.
As Bradley started firing, Sheriff Lott said the woman was able to run inside the home and lock the doors.
Lott said Bradley tried to enter the house to get the female, but couldn't get in. That's when he committed suicide.
"I can't tell you what Mr. Bradley's intent was, except that he probably tried to kill both of them," said Lott.
The exact motive is not known, but Lott did call it a domestic situation.
Bradley was well known in the Richland County law enforcement in the community, having over 40 years of experience that included time at the Columbia Police Department and the Richland County Sheriff's Department. He'd been with the coroner's office since 2006, and had been deputy coroner since 2012.
"I think all of us who knew him are very shocked and sad," Lott said.
Coroner Gary Watts said Bradley had gone on medical leave last week so that he could deal with some issues, but he never expected something this tragic to happen.
"It was never an issue of us thinking he was going to do something like this," Watts said.
If you know someone that is dealing with depression or has thoughts about suicide, you can reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. That number is 1-800-273-8255.
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