Columbia police officers involved in shooting on Gervais Street

dprice@thestate.comFebruary 18, 2013 

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A robbery suspect was hospitalized Monday afternoon after twopolice officers shot at him near the Greyhound bus station along Gervais Street, Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott said.

The suspect, identified as 46-year-old Gregory Johnston, was hit by an unknown number of gunshots after a short chase following a robbery at the Dollar General store along Taylor Street, Scott said. Before shooting him, the officers told Johnston to stop several times, but he refused. The 46-year-old was fired upon when officers saw him drawing what they thought was a gun from a pocket, Scott said.

“No officer wants to be involved in a shooting,” he said. “... Using deadly force is a last resort.”

Johnston, who is in good condition, will likely be charged with crimes related to the robbery once he is released from the hospital, Scott said. He had been released from prison just over two weeks ago on a pair of strong-arm robbery charges. He is accused of going into the Dollar General store Monday and threatening customers and a clerk with an unidentified item before making off with an undisclosed amount of cash. When officers were dispatched to the store, they were told the suspect had a weapon.

No one in the store was injured. Neither of the officers nor bystanders sustained injuries, Scott said.

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating, which is routine for officer-involved shootings. The two officers, who weren’t identified, have been placed on paid administrative leave.

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