MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Two police officers were treated at a local hospital following an officer-involved shooting in Myrtle Beach after law enforcement attempted to take a shoplifting suspect into custody, according to Horry County Police.
Lt. Raul Denis with Horry County Police reports the initial call came into officers at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday regarding a shoplifting incident at the Walmart in Surfside Beach.
A Sumter woman reportedly jumped into a vehicle and attempted to flee, but caught the officer in the door and dragged him. Fearing for the life of the trapped officer, a second officer shot at the suspect. The Associated Press reports the officer shot the woman in the arm.
[Officers] responded to a shoplifting complaint, and in the process of trying to take that individual into custody, the officer felt like he needed to protect his own life and welfare and ended up discharging his firearm at the suspect. That escalated into the reason we’re here,” confirms Lt. Denis. “We understand in the process of her trying to flee, she actually had the officer caught between her door and the rest of the car. In that process, she also rammed the police car and managed to get away.”
Lt. Denis says the community is in no danger. The suspect has been taken into custody.
“This was an isolated incident with one person involved and that person is in custody receiving medical treatment,” explains Lt. Denis.
In a press release Tuesday afternoon, Lt. Denis confirms two officers were treated at a hospital and released, but the extent of the officers’ injuries are unknown at this time. Horry County Police was first dispatched to the call, but as a car chase ensued, Horry County officers had to rely on fellow law enforcement agencies as the pursuit ended near 38th Avenue North and Kings Highway.
“We responded to the original call, and it’s typical for us as we enter into other jurisdictions to call those jurisdictions, in this case Myrtle Beach,” reports Lt. Denis.
A black Jeep SUV can be seen with the tires blown out, and Lt. Denis confirms that is the vehicle that was involved in the police s2chase. Lt. Denis speculates that spike strips may have been the cause of the SUV’s flattened tires.
A second suspect was identified and detained at the Walmart on Beaver Run Boulevard for being an accomplice in the original shoplifting. The identity of the suspects will be revealed once formal charges are filed, police say.
Police have not released the name of the suspect or the extent of her injuries at this time. South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agents are on their way to Horry County, as is routine for SLED to investigate all officer-involved shootings.
In a press release, SLED officials report Tuesday’s shooting is the 43rd officer-involved shooting in South Carolina in 2015 and the second this year involving an officer of the Horry County Police Department. The first occurred July 23 at Flintlake Apartments.
In 2014, there were 42 officer-involved shootings in South Carolina, two of those involved officers with the Horry County Police Department.