Upstate office worker describes encounter with escaped homicide - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate office worker describes encounter with escaped homicide suspect

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Lance Antonio Brewton (Source: SCSO) Lance Antonio Brewton (Source: SCSO)
Natalie Niemitalo (Source: Family) Natalie Niemitalo (Source: Family)
INMAN, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A man charged with murder after a deadly shooting and a two-county chase Monday also attempted to run from deputies at the Spartanburg County Detention Center. Lance Brewton, 38 of Taylors, is accused of shooting 24-year-old Natalie Niemitalo at her Inman home on Monday. She died of a gunshot wound to the chest at the hospital.

Brewton reportedly drove by the scene of the shooting Monday and was spotted by a Highway Patrol Trooper who attempted to stop him but Brewton drove off.  The pursuit went into Greenville County and ended when Brewton wrecked his vehicle in Taylors. He was taken into custody, treated at the hospital and then he was transported to the Spartanburg County Detention Center but it didn’t stop there.

READ MORE: Deputies: Murder, chase suspect attempted to flee on foot from Spartanburg Co. Detention Center

The deputy who was transporting Brewton says Brewton was standing on the sidewalk in the sally port of the detention facility while the deputy was securing his weapon in his vehicle. The gate to the entrance hadn’t closed yet and the deputy says Brewton ran around him and out of the gate with his hands in cuffs behind his back. The transporting deputy says he chased Brewton and called for backup over the radio. Brewton was quickly apprehended on El Paso Street nearby.

But as the escaped homicide suspect walked down the street in handcuffs, he engaged with a man working at a business down the street called Key office Solutions.  Talking exclusively with FOX Carolina, Chris Williamson said he saw a man walking by wearing a hospital gown. Williamson says he walked outside and asked him if he was OK.

 “I thought he had probably escaped from the detention center so I tried to slow him down to give them time to apprehend him,” Williams said.

As he tried to keep a conversation going, he says the man asked him for a ride. 

“I said no and then I told him he needed to stop where he was,” Williamson said.'

He told the handcuffed man that walking away was only making things worse but said the man started walking faster and eventually jogging until Williams lost sight of him.

Then Williams said he alerted a passing deputy to Brewton’s whereabouts and he saw a large group of law enforcement vehicles head that direction and down El Paso Street where Brewton was taken back into custody.

Because his workplace is so close to the detention center, Williamson said it’s not uncommon for passersby to ask for a ride or a drink of water. He said he might avoid these encounters in the future.

“I might be more apprehensive about going out to talk to somebody or having them come into our office," he said. "It’s nerve racking to think of it now.”

Brewton was denied bond and is behind bars awaiting a court date. He was initially charged with murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. Monday evening he was also charged with escape and miscellaneous traffic offenses.

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