Va. murder suspect; burglary suspect killed by officers

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — State officials are investigating after law enforcement officers in South Carolina killed a man wanted on a murder charge in Virginia and a man being investigated for a possible burglary in two separate shootings about 19 hours apart.

In the first shooting, a Lexington County deputy investigating a suspicious person in a car shot and killed the driver after being hit by the vehicle about 7 a.m. Monday, a sheriff’s department spokesman said.

In the second, two officers in Lake City ended up in a gunbattle about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday with a man they pulled over in a stolen car who turned out to be wanted for murder in Danville, Virginia, interim Lake City Police Chief Jeff Johnson said.

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating both cases, which is standard practice in officer-involved shootings in South Carolina. The state has now had 28 police shootings in 2016, matching the pace of last year’s 15-year high of 48.

The Lake City shooting happened on U.S. Highway 52, one of the busiest roads in the city of 7,000 people about 65 east of Columbia.

One officer noticed the stolen car, and the second officer came as back up as they pulled the driver over, Johnson said.

The man came out of the car shooting at officers, who fired back, Johnson said. The driver died at the hospital, while the officers were not injured, the chief said.

The name of the man killed has not been released, and Johnson did not have details about the murder charge against him. He was white, according to SLED. The officers’ names also weren’t released. SLED said one is black and the other is Hispanic.

In Lexington County, the shooting on Monday happened as a deputy was investigating a man found asleep in the car on a dirt road about 20 miles southeast of Columbia.

After the officer spoke to the man, he started his car and drove at the deputy, striking him in the knees, Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon told reporters.

The deputy fired back, killing 43-year-old Bryan Byrd, who was white, Coroner Margaret Fisher said.

Byrd was wanted for burglary and pointing a firearm charges, although the officer did not know it at the time, investigators said.

The name of the officer was not released. Koon said he is white and has been on the force for six years.

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