Sheriffs’ deputies in Richland and Lexington counties recognized for bravery

nophillips@thestate.comJanuary 25, 2013 

— Two Midlands sheriff’s deputies were awarded medals for valor this week by the S.C Sheriff’s Association.

A Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy who was zapped with a Taser as he chased a drug suspect was honored his bravery. And Lexington County Sheriff’s deputy was honored for entering a burning home to put out a fire.

Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy Reginald Grant was recognized for his willingness to put himself in danger to take bad guys off the street, Sheriff Leon Lott said in a press release.

At 4 a.m. on July 5, Grant was patrolling an area known for prostitution and drugs when he noticed a suspicious person in a pickup truck in a hotel parking lot. The suspect saw Grant, jumped out the truck and began pounding on a hotel room door, the press release said.

Grant noticed drug paraphernalia hanging from a pocket in the suspect’s clothes. As Grant approached, the suspect punched the deputy, shoved him and fled. Grant chased the suspect, who tossed a plastic bag as he ran.

When Grant caught the suspect, the suspect took another swing at the deputy and managed to grab his Taser. The suspect then fired the Taser at Grant’s leg.

But Grant was able to continue fighting. He drew his gun and was able to stop the suspect’s attack. The suspect had a history of drugs, robbery, domestic violence and assault crimes, the press release said.

Lott said, “Deputy Grant is a hero and exemplifies everything a police officer should strive to be – committed, professional and courageous in the face of danger.”

Lexington County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Ashley responded to a fire alarm July 1 at a house on Keisler Road in Gilbert. He heard a smoke detector’s alarm and could see heavy smoke in a hallway.

Ashley entered the home through the garage and found something burning on the stove, which had been left on. He ran through the house to look for residents but no one was home. He then put out the fire, according to a press release from Lexington County Sheriff James Metts.

“Justin was motivated to protect other persons and ensure that the fire did not burn down the whole house,” Metts said in a press release.

The awards were presented Thursday during a ceremony at Embassy Suites in Columbia.

Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.

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