A Columbia police officer early Sunday around dawn shot at a motorist who was trying to run over the officer in North Columbia near Earlewood Park, a city police spokeswoman said later Sunday.
Police said the suspect was shot by the police officer in the incident and was taken to a local hospital, where he is being treated for non life-threatening wounds. Police did not say how many shots were fired.
The officer was not injured.
Police Chief William “Skip” Holbrook has asked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to investigate the shooting. Investigations of police shootings by an outside agency are consistent with department policy regarding all officer-involved shootings.
The incident involving the officer and two males in a car occurred during what police called “traffic control” shortly before 6 a.m. at the intersection of Elmhurst Road and Sunset Boulevard. That intersection is located just north of Earlewood Park on the west side of North Main Street and Sunset Boulevard.
Police gave this version of events:
City police were at the scene around 6 a.m. because of a collision between a car and ambulance that caused damage to utility poles. The crash had caused police to close the intersection; traffic was diverted.
A driver coming upon the closed intersection disregarded repeated police commands to stop on Elmhurst Road. That car, driven by a man police identified as Tony Craft, 20, drove into an oncoming lane of travel and accelerated toward the officer, who was attempting to stop the vehicle.
That was when the officer, whom police did not identify, became “in fear for his life and safety and ... discharged his duty weapon at Craft,” the police statement said.
Police also said passenger Devin Craft, 36, a passenger in the car, will be charged with providing false information to police. He has outstanding city warrants for unlawful carrying of a pistol and family court warrants from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
The officer involved has been placed on “relieved of duty” status per policy which means, administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
Tony Craft has outstanding drug warrants from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. Charges related to this incident are pending.