Police in Myrtle Beach early Saturday morning shot a man waving a gun in public, and the State Law Enforcement Division is investigating.
The man was taken to a local hospital, and the three officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave, as is the standard practice in such shootings. The man’s condition has not been released.
SLED, a law enforcement agency with no direct ties to the local police force, was asked to investigate. Its agents were on the scene soon after the shooting.
Police body camera video of the incident exists and also local video surveillance, officials said.
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The shooting took place before dawn at the intersection of 21st Avenue North and Robert Grissom Parkway. The site is between the Broadway at the Beach amusement-shopping complex and the city’s minor league baseball stadium.
A SLED news release said the man was shot by “officers,” indicating authorities believe bullets from more than one officer’s weapon struck the man.
“This is an ongoing investigation,” said SLED spokesman Thom Berry in the news release.
Berry said the shooting was the 11th officer involved shooting in South Carolina this year.
Lt. Joey Crosby, spokesman with Myrtle Beach police, said the incident began around 3:26 a.m. Saturday, when a caller contacted the Myrtle Beach Police Department and told authorities a man was acting strangely at 21st Avenue North and Robert Grissom Parkway.
Officers were dispatched to that area and upon arrival found a man with a gun in his hand, police said.
Authorities communicated with him, and a short time later a negotiator was called to the scene.
But then, the man “presented the weapon in a manner that made officers fear for their life, and the officers fired their weapons,” Crosby said in a release.
The man has been transferred to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, police said.
Mallorie Boone, assistant manager at the Scotchman gas station on the corner of 21st Avenue North and Robert Grissom Parkway, arrived at work at the gas station at 6 a.m. Saturday to find lots of flashing lights and crime scene tape near the business and the area crawling with police.
She said a third-shift clerk told her they were approached by a man who said a suspicious man was on the corner and asked that police be called. She said later it turned out that the man who requested the call was the “suspicious man” mentioned.
“I’m not sure what to think about any of it. It’s kind of scary in a way. He could have shot in here,” Boone said.
She said the clerk told her the man had a gun to his head during the incident.
Crosby identified the three officers involved in the incident as PFC. Jeff Thomas, PFC. Brendan Hyde, and PFC. Michael Hearon.
One officer was treated for minor injuries as a result of the incident.
“SLED conducts law enforcement involved shooting investigations at the request of the agency involved in the incident. This independent investigation follows SLED’s guidance in conducting interviews, along with the gathering and analysis of forensic evidence. Interviews are being conducted with the responding officers and others,” Berry said in the SLED news release Saturday.
This incident was the first this year involving a Myrtle Beach police officer. Last year, there were 48 officer-involved shooting incidents in the state and none involved the Myrtle Beach Police Department, Berry said in the release.