Richland County, SC (WLTX) -- Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says an equipment upgrade saved the life a deputy during an officer involved shooting early Thursday morning.
Lott says 26-year-old Deputy Reginald Grant shot and killed 31-year-old Keith J. Durham after a chase, fight and struggle over Grant's weapons.
"It was a good shooting there's no doubt," said Lott. He says new holsters with more safety features prevented what could have cost a deputy his life.
Sheriff Lott says Deputy Grant was patrolling around the Long Creek Drive off Bush River Road, an area he says is known for drugs and prostitution.
Lott says Grant saw what he thought was a domestic disturbance involving Durham.
He says a 75 yard chase and fight followed with Durham tasing Deputy Grant in the leg with his own device and trying to take control of the fight.
"The suspect was trying to take the deputy's gun, no doubt in my mind if he had got the gun he would have shot the deputy," said Lott.
The sheriff says his department ordered new holsters last year. He says the change amounted to less than $7 per holster.
The old models, called a "Level Two" could use a device like a thumb-break to release the gun, followed by rocking it back and forth in the holster to clear and internal lock before drawing the weapon.
The holster upgrade, a "Level Three" has three different devices, both inside and outside the holster, that have to be released to remove the gun.
The switch came as a result of feedback from the Deputy Advisory Council, which reports concerns or suggestion from deputies in various divisions to Lott. One of those concerns was people trying to take their weapons.
"Once we identified we had a problem we fixed it, we fixed it very quickly and it makes me feel good that the deputies know that they have an input on what we do here," said Lott.
Lott says Grant injured his knee and was bitten on the arm but received treatment on the scene. He says Grant's obviously upset about what happened, but the department will work with him on that.
SLED is investigating the shooting, which is norman procedure when an officer is involved in a shooting.