A police confrontation with a suspect allegedly firing a weapon at cars and fenced dogs as he walked down Carolina Road in the Green Sea area could have turned deadly and sparked a national incident.
But the actions of Horry County Police Sergeant Stephen Phillips and Officer Jonathan Edwards will instead earn them an award, the first of its kind to be regularly presented by the county to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of police officers.
The suspect, 20-year-old Aquintas Shamar Simmons of Loris, had a loaded .380 caliber pistol hidden in his backpack when the officers approached him on the afternoon of Feb. 6, according to Horry County Police Chief Joseph Hill and the incident report.
“When he saw the officers, he was fumbling around in the backpack,” Hill said.
The officers “rushed” the suspect and were able to apprehend him without any injury to Simmons or the officers, Hill said.
“What he was reaching for was that gun, and it could have been disastrous,” Hill said.
“He’s a black male, these are white officers. Without having any other additional information, the public may have perceived that as the issues that are going on nationwide,” Hill said.
“But Phillips and Edwards made a phenomenal effort to take this guy down without excessive force,” Hill said.
As he struggled with the officers, the suspect argued that he would not be taken to jail and refused to get into the police car, the incident report said.
The rest of the suspect’s statement is redacted in the report.
Simmons was also wanted on an outstanding non-criminal warrant, and charged with resisting arrest, possessing a concealed weapon and breach of peace.