Crime & Courts

Suspect in latest SC hospital shooting charged with attempted murder, cops say

File photo of an emergency department sign.
File photo of an emergency department sign.

An officer and gunman were injured Thursday during an exchange of gunfire at the Laurens County Hospital, police said, in the second shooting at a South Carolina hospital in as many days.

A man with a gun walked into Prisma Health Laurens County Memorial Hospital about 2 a.m. Thursday, according to Thom Berry, spokesman for the State Law Enforcement Division.

An officer with the Greenville Health Authority Police Department confronted the man, who was in the hospital visiting with another person who was being seen by staff in the emergency department, Berry said, and the suspect pulled out a gun and shot the officer.

The officer returned fire, shooting the suspect in the arm in an attempt to stop him from leaving the hospital, Prisma Health said in a news release.

With assistance from the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the suspect was apprehended, according to the news release. The incident lasted about four minutes, Prisma officials said.

The suspect was identified as Kevin Boyce Patterson, Berry said. The 27-year-old Clinton man was charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, and pointing and presenting a firearm, according to arrest warrants.

Both the officer and Patterson underwent treatment Thursday morning, Berry said.

Prisma officials said the officer “has been treated for his injuries and released from the hospital,” according to the news release.

Patterson was released from the hospital and booked into the Laurens County Detention Center, Berry said.

No other injuries were reported, hospital officials said in the news release.

Patterson was charged with kidnapping for forcefully dragging his father — who was held at gunpoint — across the waiting area and to the door of the emergency room, according to arrest warrants.

“Our team members acted quickly to protect those entrusted to their care and each other when faced with this rapidly unfolding situation,” Prisma official Justin Benfield said in the news release. “... I’m especially grateful to the officer for his quick action which helped ensure the safety of our patients, team members and visitors.”

A woman who was in the emergency room with her ailing son was ushered into a bathroom by a nurse after she heard gunfire and screaming, WYFF reported.

SLED is investigating, which is protocol for officer-involved shootings. Crime scene agents are still working at the hospital, which has restricted access to those entering the facility, Berry said.

The 90-bed hospital is in Clinton, a few miles off Interstate 26 just before the I-385 interchange.

“We hope an incident like this never happens again, but we must be prepared,” GHA Police Chief Doug Horton said in the news release. “Part of that preparation is what we do, but it’s also the community being watchful. We are actively reviewing security protocols at our other campuses to ensure that this remains an isolated incident.”

The incident comes less than a day after a patient shot a nurse in the emergency department of the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg. That suspect has been charged with attempted murder.

A message of support was posted on the Regional Medical Center Facebook page.

“In the wake of this morning’s shooting at Prisma Health Laurens County Hospital in Clinton, S.C., our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the victims and their families,” the post said. “Rest assured, the safety and security of our patients and families here at the Regional Medical Center is our primary concern.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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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.
Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.