A Rock Hill man authorities say fired shots at city police officers during a traffic stop mid-week is in custody at the county jail facing attempted murder charges.
Agents from the State Law Enforcement Division and the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office arrested John Ernest Perry Jr., 46, in a rural area of Fairfield County late Friday afternoon, where he was taken into custody without incident, said Rock Hill police spokesman Capt. Mark Bollinger.
Officers charged Perry with two counts of attempted murder, possession of a pistol by a person prohibited, and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. A Rock Hill municipal court judge denied Perry bond Saturday morning and he was transported to the Moss Justice Center in York.
Officers said late Wednesday they pulled Perry over on the Ebenezer Avenue Extension after they spotted his 1991 Nissan driving erratically on Cherry Road and Oakland Avenue, Bollinger said. Perry pulled into an apartment parking lot and fled on foot, the officers said.
Police said they chased a fleeing suspect into a nearby yard, where he fired at least one shot at the two officers after he was blocked by a fence. One of the officers returned fire and Perry hopped over a fence and continued to run, according to police.
Officers said they continued to pursue Perry but lost him in the 1000 block of Ebenezer Avenue Extension. Detectives, K-9 teams and the SWAT team assisted in the search for the gunman.
Neither Rock Hill nor state police would provide details on how investigators determined that Perry was the person who fled on foot and shot at officers trying to apprehend him Wednesday night, or how they were able to locate him in Fairfield County.
“I appreciate the assistance by SLED Chief Mark Keel and his agents, along with Fairfield County Sheriff Will Montgomery and his deputies in the capture of John Perry last evening,” Rock Hill Police Chief Chris Watts said in a written statement. “Through their efforts, a dangerous individual has been safely apprehended.”
Perry has an extensive criminal record that includes arrests for drug possession, domestic violence, resisting arrest, assault and battery with attempt to kill, and various weapons charges, according to SLED criminal history records.
Perry suffered a graze wound to his side during the initial confrontation and was taken to Palmetto Health Richland Hospital in Columbia, where he was released Friday night and first transported to the Rock Hill city jail before being taken to the Moss Justice Center, Bollinger said.
The incident was the 22nd officer-involved shooting in South Carolina in 2016 and the first this year involving an officer of the Rock Hill Police Department. In 2015, there were 48 officer-involved shootings in South Carolina; one that involved Rock Hill Police, according to SLED records.
SLED and the Rock Hill Police Department will continue to investigate the case. Because an officer discharged his weapon, he has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard department protocol for an officer-involved shooting.