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February 26, 2013

Domestic violence suspect killed in shootout with police, Richland County deputy injured

A suspect involved in a domestic assault was killed and a Richland County Sheriff’s deputy was injured in a shootout Tuesday afternoon in a neighborhood off Broad River Road.

A suspect involved in a domestic assault was killed and a Richland County Sheriff’s deputy was injured in a shootout Tuesday afternoon in a neighborhood off Broad River Road.

Adam Jurgen, 28, died in a hail of gunfire from police after he stormed out of a unit at the Farrington Apartments on Broad River Road around 2:45 p.m., said Capt. Chris Cowan, a Richland County Sheriff’s Department spokesman. Among the officers who fired at Jurgen was Deputy Sheila Aull, a nine-year veteran of the department, who was struck in the chest by a bullet from Jurgen’s .380-caliber pistol.

Aull’s bulletproof vest stopped the round, but she was taken to a local hospital for evaluation, Cowan said. She has since been released and is at home, the department reported Wednesday morning.

“We were fortunate in yesterday's shooting because Deputy Aull and the other deputies could have easily lost their life or suffered serious injuries,” Sheriff Leon Lott said. “We do all we can to protect our deputies and community by providing the Deputies with the best equipment and training.”

Tuesday’s events evolved over an hour as sheriff’s deputies first were called to a drugstore where Jurgen had assaulted his girlfriend, causing injuries to her face, and then fled. He later was located in a neighborhood along Whiteford Road in the St. Andrews area. The suspect shot at deputies three times in different locations before he eventually was killed.

Dozens of police from five agencies surrounded homes in the Kingwood subdivision and Farrington Apartments. Richland 1 put three schools on lockdown and delayed student dismissal as police searched for the suspect. Police swarmed the busy Broad River Road area near an antique mall, public library and dozens of other businesses.

Jurgen has a prior conviction for criminal domestic violence. He served 30 days in jail in October 2012 after pleading guilty in Lexington County. He also served time in a state prison for attempted armed robbery and assault with intent to kill from a 2006 arrest in Richland County. He was released in February 2012, according to a SLED rap sheet. He also has been convicted of possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct.

The shootout is the second deadly ending to a domestic violence case this week in Richland County and the second time this week that Columbia-area law enforcement officers have been fired upon.

On Monday, Percy Williams, 31, was charged with murder after he allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend, Tabatha Priester, 35, the sheriff’s department reported. On Saturday, an 18-year-old shot at Columbia police officers as they were arresting one of his friends in front of a Harden Street bar in Five Points. Shaquan Cwiklinski is charged with two counts of attempted murder.

Tuesday’s shooting began around 1:30 p.m. when sheriff’s deputies were called to a CVS drugstore at the corner of Broad River and St. Andrews roads, Cowan said.

Upon arrival, deputies found a woman with significant injuries to her face. She was taken to Lexington Medical Center for treatment. Jurgen had assaulted the woman inside and outside the store, but he was gone when deputies arrived, Cowan said.

Officers then began their search for Jurgen and found him in the Kingwood subdivision on Whiteford Road. As deputies tried to stop Jurgen, he fired multiple rounds at them and fled.

Officers from the Columbia Police Department, S.C. Highway Patrol and State Law Enforcement Division joined the hunt. Police chased Jurgen through back yards to the Farrington Apartments, where he fired at them a second time, Cowan said.

Jurgen then ran into an apartment belonging to an acquaintance. A man and a woman were at home and let him inside after he banged on their door.

Jurgen stayed in the apartment for a few minutes. The man and the woman ran out the back door with their hands up, one witness said. They were followed by Jurgen, who started firing, said Deputy Curtis Wilson, a department spokesman.

Jurgen ran across a small parking lot toward a second apartment building before he was shot and killed. Aull, the deputy who was shot, was standing near a garbage dumpster between the two buildings. She returned fire as she was hit, Cowan said. Multiple deputies fired at Jurgen, and it wasn’t clear whose bullets killed him, Cowan said.

Conrad McKenzie, a resident in a neighboring apartment building, said he heard the gunfire and peeked out his blinds to see what was happening.

“You name it, and they were here,” he said of all of the police agencies. “And whatever gun you can name, they had it.

“I didn’t know whether to hit the floor. I closed my blinds and locked the doors.”

McKenzie said he heard officers shouting, “He’s down. He’s down.” And then he saw deputies holding Aull’s arm as she walked away from the scene.

“It was pretty intense here for awhile,” he said.

SLED will investigate the case, which is routine for any shooting involving a police officer.

But Cowan said his department’s deputies did what was necessary.

“Our deputies did exactly what they had to do, but that was what no one wants to have to do,” he said.

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