Crime & Courts

‘Career criminal’ pointed gun at officers before being killed by Richland deputy, sheriff says

People are dying. Here’s what you need to know about SC high-speed police chases

One out of three police chases end in death or injury in South Carolina.
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One out of three police chases end in death or injury in South Carolina.

A man recently released from jail on bond for separate charges led law enforcement on a chase through three jurisdictions early Wednesday before being fatally shot by a Richland County deputy when he pointed a gun at them, according to Sheriff Leon Lott.

The man, who was identified as Zachary Kinard, was shot at about 5:45 a.m. the end of the chase after he allegedly pulled a gun on a Richland County sheriff’s deputy, Sheriff Leon Lott said Wednesday.

The chase began around 4 a.m. in the town of Lexington after police received calls of a man breaking into several cars, Lott said. Lexington police later found Kinard driving a stolen car and chased him.

When Kinard reached the Lake Murray dam, the S.C. Highway Patrol took up the chase, eventually entering Richland County, Lott said. Richland County deputies met troopers near Broad River Road around 4:30 a.m. and followed Kinard across the county, pursuing the stolen car from Broad River Road to Greystone Boulevard to Colonial Drive and onto I-20, where Kinard made a U-turn and got on I-26.

The chase continued onto S.C. 302 past the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Lott said. It ended in the Pelion area, near Kinard’s home, when Kinard spun out on Hilton Yonce Road.

As K-9 Deputy Richard Hazel approached Kinard to arrest him, Kinard pointed a gun at the deputy, who fired “numerous” rounds, Lott said.

Hazel, who has been with the sheriff’s department since 2013, is going through department protocol for shootings, Lott said.

Kinard was released from the Department of Corrections in September 2017 after serving 12 years on burglary and drug charges, Lott said. He was arrested in Lexington County two weeks ago for possessing a stolen firearm and was out of jail on bond when Wednesday’s chase happened.

Inside the stolen car, law enforcement found two guns that had been stolen from Richland and Lexington counties, Lott said.

“He’s a career criminal and was on a one man crime wave,” Lott said. “He was not going to stop until he got caught.”

The shooting happened in Lexington County, and Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon asked the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate.

Lott called the shooting “a tragic situation.”

“Our deputies do not like to have to take someone’s life,” he said. “But when we’re put into the position that a deputy was put into this morning, he had no choice.”

This was the first shooting involving a Richland County deputy since August 2016, Lott said.

Teddy Kulmala covers breaking news for The State and covered crime and courts for seven years in Columbia, Rock Hill, Aiken and Lumberton, N.C. He graduated from Clemson University and grew up in Barnwell County.
Emily Bohatch helps cover South Carolina’s government for The State. She also updates The State’s databases. Her accomplishments include winning a Green Eyeshade award in Disaster Reporting in 2018 for her teamwork reporting on Hurricane Irma. She has a degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish from Ohio University’s E. W. Scripps School of Journalism.