Drill sergeant’s death still questioned

jmonk@thestate.comJanuary 14, 2013 

— Foul play remains a possibility in the New Year’s Day shooting death of a 23-year-old Fort Jackson drill sergeant, Richland County officials said Monday.

“I’m waiting on the sheriff’s investigation and some toxicology tests to be complete before I rule on the manner of death,” county coroner Gary Watts said.

Staff Sgt. Roderick Day, an Army combat veteran who had served two tours in Iraq, was shot once in the chest on the afternoon of Jan. 1 while in the off-base Powell Road apartment he shared with a female friend whose name officials have not released.

According to a sheriff’s department incident report, the female friend “was hysterical and screaming that she had shot him in the chest and it was an accident.”

When deputies arrived, Day was lying on the floor and the woman was giving him CPR, the incident report said.

Day, who grew up in Arkansas, was pronounced dead less than two hours later at Palmetto Health Richland.

Sheriff Leon Lott said his detectives are continuing to investigate and, like Watts, are waiting on the results on toxicology tests.

Day’s Army job speciality was listed as 11B, or 11-Bravo — an infantryman, in civilian terms. In Iraq, he had received a Purple Heart and an Army Commendation Medal, according to a Fort Jackson spokesman.

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