Lexington County, SC (WLTX) - A suspect who held deputies at bay in an hours-long standoff on Interstate 26 Wednesday has died, according to the coroner and four Lexington deputies are on paid administrative leave while South Carolina Law Enforcement investigates.
Coroner Margaret Fisher identified the man as 29-year-old Robert B. Shaw of West Columbia. Sheriff Koon has placed four deputies are on paid administrative leave SLED investigates the incident. Placing deputies on leave is standard procedure when officers are involved in a shooting.
Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said the incident started near the town of Swansea in Lexington County on Pine Plain Road around 8:40 a.m.
According to Koon, they'd gotten a call of a broken down vehicle out there. When the first officer got there, however, they say the suspect ran from the vehicle holding a bag.
Officers spotted the suspect a short time later driving a pickup truck. They tried to pull him over, but deputies say he took off.
Koon says Shaw led crews up the westbound lanes of I-26, off on other roads near Columbia, then back on the eastbound lanes before crashing on Old Dunbar Road at I-26.
During the chase, Cayce Public Safety officers used a deflation device to knock out one of the suspect's tires, which made it harder for him to drive.
After the chase ended, Shaw, still sitting in the truck, put a gun to his own head, deputies say. Officers brought negotiators to the scene and began talking with him via a cell phone.
Koon says negotiations broke down, however, and crews made the decision to move in closer and end it peacefully.
"We gave the subject every opportunity to surrender," Koon says.
As officers moved in, they say Shaw made a sudden move, and officers responded by firing several rounds of gunfire at the vehicle.
The suspect was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
As is standard policy for the Lexington County Sheriff's Office, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division will investigate the shooting because it involves an officer.
"All our officers are OK, just shaken, from the ordeal as you can imagine," Koon said. "They put their heart and soul into this incident that lasted several hours."
Deputies say the suspect was wanted after failing to appear in general sessions court for several charges, including unlawful carry of a pistol, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and failure to stop for blue lights.
Traffic was shut down in both directions between mile markers 113 to 115 while the incident played out. Just before 6 p.m., the South Carolina Highway Patrol announced the lanes reopened.