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Man accused of shooting at police from West Columbia hotel appears appears in court for first time

Jonathan Russell Saylor was taken into custody after an almost 6 1/2 hour standoff at local hotel

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. — The suspect accused of shooting at police at a West Columbia motel and barricading himself for hours appeared in court for the first time for a bond hearing. 

Jonathan Russell Saylor, 34, of Charleston, is charged with attempted murder, discharging a firearm into a vehicle, two counts of discharging a firearm into a dwelling, three counts of malicious injury to personal property, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

Saylor was in a wheelchair for the hearing. He'd been shot during the confrontation with police a day earlier and had also been wounded by a police K-9..

Saylor told the court that he would never hurt anyone and just wanted officers to give him time to pack his belongings. Police say he would fire multiple rounds at them through a hotel door and a window. The man claimed he feared for his life.

The judge told Saylor he could not set bond for him because of the severity of the charge so he denied bond for now until a later hearing could be scheduled.

The victim in the case did appear in court Wednesday but did not speak.

The incident began around 1 p.m. Jan. 17 when West Columbia Police responded to a domestic violence call at the Hilton Garden Inn at 110 McSwain Dr. Officers arriving at the scene spoke to the woman involved before proceeding to the fifth floor where Saylor was in a room. While attempting to talk to Saylor, police said Saylor shut the door on the officers and told them he was going to shoot them.

Officers said Saylor then shot a few rounds through the door of the hotel room and within the room as police officers trained in crisis negotiation tried to de-escalate the situation.

West Columbia Police requested assistance from South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Lexington County Sheriff's Department (LCSD).

According to police, Saylor broke a window in the room overlooking Sunset Boulevard/US 378, and began firing at officers who were coming to the scene. Law enforcement temporarily closed the on and off ramps of I-26 at Sunset/378 and a portion of 378 while the incident was going on.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agents returned Saylor's fire.

West Columbia Police employed the department's drone and SLED provided a robot to get better views of what was going on in the hotel room.

After approximately six and a half hours, Saylor was taken into custody by West Columbia Police around 7:10 p.m.

Saylor sustained minor injuries, including a gunshot wound to the lower body and a wound from a K-9 used in his capture.

The investigation is ongoing.

In addition to SLED and LCSD, agencies assisting include Lexington Medical Center Police Department, Cayce Police Department, West Columbia Fire Department, South Carolina Highway Patrol, and the Lexington County EMS.

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