Saluda County, SC (WLTX) - A Saluda County deputy who died in the line of duty is being remembered as a 'great guy' by his fellow officers.
Corporal Dale Hallman died early Friday morning while responding to a crime scene.
'We're a tight-knit family," Sheriff John Perry said of the toll Hallman's death is having on his agency.
According to deputies, officers had been chasing a suspect, and the pursuit took them from Saluda County into Edgefield County. When the chase ended, the suspect got out of his car with a rifle and a child. A few moments later, the suspect left the child, and that child was taken into protective custody.
Officers called for a bloodhound team to track the suspect. Hallman, who's a member of the Bloodhound Tracking Team, began responding to the scene with lights and sirens activated, but crashed at a location on Pencreek Road. The South Carolina Highway Patrol says Hallman was not wearing a seat belt.
Hallman was taken to the hospital where he later died. Deputies later said the suspect they were searching for was eventually taken into custody.
Perry says the fallen officer had just recently gotten married, and had a baby on the way. He also was a stepfather to two boys.
"We all love what we do, but he was extraordinary," Perry said. 'He really loved what he was doing...He always had that smile when he came in."
Hallman had been with the agency for five years. He also was a lieutenant with the county's fire service.
In 2016, he'd been awarded the Medal of Valor for his service to the count.
"He had character," Perry said. "That's the reason he earned a Medal of Valor. He earned it."
At the sheriff's office Friday were members of other agencies who'd come to offer support. The sheriff says he's been "overwhelmed" by that response.
"When something happens to one of us, it happens to all of us," he said. "My phone hasn't stopped ringing."
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Hallman's family.
Serve & Connect Founder and CEO, Kassy Alia, issued the following statement:
“Corporal Dale Hallman was a hero to his community and to his family. The loss they face ahead is unimaginable. We hope to ease this burden by raising money to support his wife, unborn daughter and two young step sons. We hope that each donation – no matter how large or small – shows the Hallman family how loved they are during this dark time. We are honored to do all that we can to remember his heroic life of service.”
You can donate through either of these methods:
Go Fund Me: https://www.gofundme.com/dalehallmanmemorialfund
Serve and Connect: https://serveandconnect.net/2018/04/06/corporal-dale-hallman-memorial-fund/