VIDEO: Forest Acres Police Chief Gene Shealy confirms officer killed in shooting
The man charged with murder in the shooting death of a Forest Acres police officer waived a bond hearing that was scheduled for Thursday.
Jarvis Hall was taken into custody shortly after he allegedly shot and killed 32-year-old officer Greg Alia at the Richland Mall. He was charged Wednesday with murder and accused of using a stolen handgun to shoot the officer.
The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating at the request of the Forest Acres Police Department.
It has been more than four decades since a Forest Acres police officer last was shot and killed on duty.
“What a tragic day here in Forest Acres,” Police Chief Gene Sealy said. “Our hearts are broken. Forest Acres is a small community, a small police department. We’re one big family.”
Alia was a seven-year veteran of the Forest Acres department, Sealy said.
Alia is believed to be the first officer shot and killed on duty in South Carolina this year, according to State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry. Before Wednesday morning, there had been 34 officer-involved shooting cases statewide this year, Berry said. The most recent officer fatally shot in South Carolina was a Charleston deputy who was killed in September 2014, Berry said.
Alia and two other officers, including an officer he was training, responded to Richland Mall just before 8 a.m. Wednesday after an employee of a nearby bank reported a suspicious person in the mall’s parking lot, Sealy said.
When Alia and the other officers arrived, they located Hall inside a van and attempted to talk with him, but Hall became uncooperative and fled on foot into the mall through the Barnes & Noble bookstore, Sealy said.
Alia pursued Hall into the mall and engaged in a struggle with him, Sealy said. Hall then pulled out a Glock .40-caliber handgun and shot Alia, according to a warrant served on Hall. Hall also was armed with a knife, Sealy said.
The gun was reported stolen in Lexington County on or around Sept. 2, according to the warrant.
Hall is being held without bond at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
Flags outside the Forest Acres Police Department headquarters were lowered to half-staff following the news of Alia’s death.
“He was an outstanding young man. He was an outstanding police officer,” Sealy said. “He was a role model for our new police officers.”
The last time a Forest Acres officer was shot and killed in the line of duty was Feb. 21, 1974. Patrol officer Richey Finch, 25, had been on the job for three months when he was shot through the heart after stopping a car in a then-vacant lot across from Cardinal Newman School on Forest Drive.
The three men convicted of Finch’s slaying also were convicted in connection with the killing of Kershaw County deputy Ernest “Chris” Potter later that same day.
1 The number of police officers shot and killed in South Carolina this year
34 The number of officer-involved shootings in South Carolina before Wednesday morning
1974 The last time a Forest Acres officer was shot and killed on duty
According to Richland County Court records, Hall, the suspect in Alia’s shooting, was charged with refusal to stop on police command Aug. 30 in Columbia. Records show he was released from jail on a $265 personal recognizance bond the same day.
Hall also was convicted of unlawfully carrying a weapon earlier this month and paid a $1,120 fine in lieu of jail time, according to a SLED background check.
The murder charge against Hall carries a penalty of 30 years to life in prison – or death if the 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office pursues a death penalty. Hall also was charged with carrying a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, which carries the potential of an additional five years.
A.C. Flora High School, a few blocks from the mall, was briefly put on lockdown Wednesday morning. The mall was open for normal operations several hours after the shooting. But the entrance to the Belk’s department store near the Barnes & Noble bookstore was closed.
The number of police officers shot and killed in South Carolina this year
The number of officer-involved shootings in South Carolina before Wednesday morning
The last time a Forest Acres officer was shot and killed on duty
How to support the Alia family
Slain Forest Acres police officer Greg Alia leaves behind a wife, Kassy, and an infant son, Sal. There are several ways to donate to the family. Donations may be made through the Forest Acres Police Department or at any First Citizens Bank to the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy for South Carolina Emergency Fund, in care of the Alia family.
Also, two online fundraising pages have been set up in honor of the Alia family on GoFundMe.com. The Greg Alia Memorial Fund was created by one of Alia’s fraternity brothers from Phi Sigma Kappa at the University of South Carolina. Well over $40,000 had been raised on that page by late Wednesday afternoon. Additionally, the FARMA Supports the Alia Family page was created by the Forest Acres Restaurant and Merchant Association.