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Confrontation with U.S. Marshals leaves one man dead in Aiken, SLED investigating

Authorities said Robert L. Wright was shot multiple times after the chase ended in a crash.

AIKEN, S.C. — Authorities say a man has died following a high-speed chase and shots fired by U.S. Marshals in South Carolina, Thursday.

According to a statement from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), 34-year-old Robert L. Wright was shot during an encounter with a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) agent and a U.S. Marshal Service Task Force officer in Aiken County. Both are assigned to the Marshals Service Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Aiken County Coroner Darryl Ables said deputy marshals were attempting to execute an arrest warrant for Wright at a hotel on Whiskey Road. That's when Wright attempted to escape. 

He said that the shooting happened just after 11 a.m. on Charleston Highway near East Pine Log Road after a high-speed pursuit.  Ables said the pursuit ended in a crash into another vehicle.

At this point, the coroner said multiple shots were fired by the deputy marshals, striking Wright several times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy was scheduled for Friday in Newberry County. SLED is now investigating the shooting independently at the request of the agency involved. SLED will submit its findings to prosecutors once its investigation is complete.

The state agency reports this is the ninth shooting involving law enforcement in South Carolina it has on record for 2022. There were a total of 40 shootings involving officers over the previous year.

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