CHAPIN, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man who carjacked a vehicle, crashed into at least 10 cars during a chase and then charged the deputy at the side of the interstate, Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said.
Phillip John Walden, a 40-year-old from Taylors, died from multiple gunshot wounds to his chest.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and this is the largest crime scene I’ve had to deal with,” Foster told The State of Columbia. “It’s still a fluid situation several hours later.”
Two other people were taken to hospitals, but were expected to recover. No deputies or state troopers were injured.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating the Sunday shooting.
Local news outlets report the chase began Sunday evening in Laurens County when a couple pulled over to help Walden on Interstate 26 when he appeared to have a disabled vehicle.
Foster said Walden drew a weapon and tried to steal their vehicle. The couple drove off, and Foster said Walden returned to his vehicle and drove east down I-26. The sheriff said the man wrecked his vehicle and rolled it down an embankment near Joanna.
Foster said Walden then tried to carjack two other motorists who stopped and tried to help there. Foster told The State that people who called 911 variously described the man’s weapon as a knife, scissors or a gun. Walden eventually took over a car on his third attempt, with the driver getting away. Walden continued east.
Foster said that as law enforcement tried to stop Walden, he rammed multiple vehicles, including pushing a deputy’s vehicle into a guardrail.
Walden got off the highway in Irmo and doubled back onto I-26 headed west, before again getting off again in Chapin and returning to the interstate, this time heading west into oncoming traffic in the eastbound lanes.
Both a sheriff’s deputy and a state trooper got in front of the fleeing man, and the deputy forced the vehicle into a concrete barrier, disabling Walden’s vehicle as he rammed the deputy’s vehicle.
Foster said both the deputy and the trooper tried to use stun guns to subdue Walden after he exited the wrecked vehicle and moved toward them. The sheriff said the Newberry County deputy then shot Walden after the stun gun did not incapacitate him and he charged at the deputy.
“I don’t know if he was armed, but no shots were fired at the deputy,” Foster said.
Walden died before he could be taken to a hospital.
Foster said he said he did not know why Walden had acted the way he did.
The deputy is on administrative leave until the state investigation is complete, Foster said. A district attorney will decide if criminal charges are merited. It was the 26th officer shooting this year in South Carolina.