Former USC running back was not robbed in shooting, sheriff says

ashain@thestate.comNovember 5, 2013 

— The shooting of a well-regarded former Gamecock football star who works in the state’s top law-enforcement agency took a strange turn Tuesday, leaving more questions than answers.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said authorities do not believe Kenny Miles’ story that a robber shot him Monday near Irmo, stealing his watch and a ring.

“At this point, we know Kenny Miles was shot. Where he was shot, why he was shot and how he was shot, we don’t know,” Lott told reporters Tuesday.

No charges have been filed in connection with the shooting.

Lott held a news conference Tuesday to "let the community know we don’t have an armed robber running around in the St. Andrews or Dutch Fork area that committed a robbery and shot Kenny Miles."

A clearly frustrated sheriff added he was "not real happy with the resources and time that we spent on this case, chasing false leads. It wasted a lot of manpower. ... We’re going to find out what happened."

Miles was found with a gunshot wound about 1 p.m. in the doorway at 121 Centrum Drive in an office park, according to an incident report.

He “appeared to be very incoherent to his surroundings,” according to a Sheriff’s Department incident report.

Miles told deputies he did not know who shot him while he was driving his car.

The former University of South Carolina running back said he was shot by a white man in is late 30s or early 40s with light gray hair, and wearing a blue, long-sleeve, button-down work shirt and khaki pants, the report said.

The shooter fled by foot into a wooded area, Miles told deputies. But police dogs could not track the suspect because of Miles could not “pinpoint the location where the original shooting occurred,” the report said

Later, investigators found blood at two locations – the office park where police found Miles and a nearby church, Lott said after the news conference. A friend of Miles worked at the office park, the sheriff said.

Deputies debunked the robbery story through their investigation and speaking with Miles, Lott said. The sheriff declined to say what tipped off investigators.

Authorities now are unsure if Miles, 23, gave an accurate description of his assailant, Lott said.

The investigation is ongoing.

Miles sustained what the University of South Carolina called a “soft tissue” injury to his arm that was not life- threatening. He was expected to be released from Palmetto Health Richland on Tuesday after a night of observation, but the school had no updates by the end of the day.

Efforts to reach Miles and his family were unsuccessful Tuesday.

Miles tweeted Tuesday morning: "So thankful for all the support and prayers sent my way. I’ll be just fine people I promise, I’m blessed y’all have a great day. Love you all."

Miles, a Lawrenceville, Ga., native, lives in Irmo. He works in the office of S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, spokesman Mark Powell said Tuesday.

Miles has worked for Wilson since August as a support clerk, assisting with community outreach and youth mentoring. He also interned in the attorney general’s office for four months in early 2012.

Miles approached USC head coach Steve Spurrier last week about the possibility of being a graduate assistant with the team. Before news of the false robbery report, Spurrier said Monday that he would consider that request, calling Miles “a model student-athlete.”

USC cornerback Victor Hampton, Miles’ teammate for three seasons, said Tuesday that he was not aware of any players being able to reach their former teammate. Hampton said he swapped texts with Miles daily before the shooting.

“I have hit his phone number up, but I am not sure exactly what is going on with him,” Hampton said after practice Tuesday. “When something like that happens, you are like, ‘Wow, Kenny Miles?’ Like, ‘How does that happen to Kenny Miles?’ ”

Defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles said the team is praying for Miles.

“We love Kenny to death,” Quarles said. “The sad thing about it is, he has a great, funny guy. That just hurts your feelings. But I know God is going to take care of him, so he’s going to be all right.”

Miles led USC in rushing in 2009 as a redshirt freshman with 117 carries for 626 yards. He played in all 13 games, starting seven.

He started six games as a senior in 2012 and was third on the team in rushing with 359 yards. He started the final four games of last season.

Miles finished his USC career with 1,342 yards rushing.

Kenny Miles Incident report by thestate

Staff writers Josh Kendall and Chris Winston contributed

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