Crime & Courts

Suspect out on bail dragged Columbia officer in moving car before shooting, police say

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A suspect dragged a Columbia police officer hundreds of feet in a moving vehicle before the officer shot the man, according to police.

An officer pulled over a Dodge SUV for a traffic stop in the Food Lion grocery store parking lot at 1013 Broad River Road at 3 a.m., a Columbia Police Department spokesperson said. A man, 29-year-old Sir Brandon Legette, was driving the vehicle. Backup for the officer, from another Columbia officer and a Richland County Sheriff’s deputy, showed up for the stop.

After the officer checked for information on Legette, the officer found the driver had a suspended license and two warrants for his arrest in connection with an Aug. 8 burglary, the department said.

Legette ignored repeated commands to get out of the vehicle, according to a police statement. The officer tried to remove Legette from the SUV but the driver sped away, the police said. The officer was trapped partially inside the vehicle.

“The officer was dragged several hundred feet around the parking lot while attempting to get Leggette to stop the vehicle,” the spokesperson said.

With the officer hanging out of the moving vehicle, struggling with the driver, Legette careened the SUV down an embankment at the back of the store, according to the department. The officer pulled out his gun and shot Legette in the head “causing a serious injury.”

The backup officers went down the embankment and gave aid to the suspect and the officer.

After the incident, officers searched Legette’s vehicle and found a gun, the department said.

The office was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. He was released by late Saturday morning.

Legette is still hospitalized under law enforcement guard, the department said.

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Legette was out on bail from 2018 charges of high and aggravate domestic violence and child neglect, court records show. After his Feburary 2018 arrest, a judge set a $25,000 bond which Legette posted.

According to Richland County court documents, in 2017, police attempted to arrest him for marijuana possession but he fought them and refused to obey to commands before they were able to get him under control. Court proceedings are still ongoing in the case.

In 2016, police arrested Legette for another domestic violence charge, the records show. A judge found him guilty at a bench trial and suspended a 90-day prison sentenced, making Legette pay a $5,000 fine.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, which looks into most officer involved shootings, was called in to investigate. Columbia Police Department’s internal affairs department will also complete a review of the incident.

The involved officer is on administrative duty with pay while the investigation is ongoing. The department did identify the officer.

This is the second officer involved shooting in the Columbia area this month. On Aug. 15 three bank robbery suspects led Richland County Sheriff’s deputies on a chase then fired on them in a residential neighborhood.

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.