Community gathers in Seneca for vigil honoring deputy who was shot

Community rallying together to support injured Oconee Co. Sheriff's Office Corporal Lucas Watts
Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 9:14 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Citizens gathered in Seneca to honor the deputy who was shot during a traffic stop in Oconee County.

Hundreds came together in Seneca through song and prayer to show support for Corporal Lucas Watts and his family Sunday evening.

“Lucas is a great guy, you couldn’t meet a better person. He’s well liked in the community, very easy to talk to, very easy to get along with,” said Friend Rashad Crooks.

The candlelight event featured speakers, songs, and prayers.

“I feel like this was needed for the family and as well as for the community,” said Family Friend Susan Stephens.

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw spoke to the crowd about the emotions the last few days, which he described as being a rollercoaster.

“I saw a miracle performed in Greenville County on Thursday night. Lucas Watts, Deputy Lucas Watts was not supposed to survive his wounds, and he did,” said Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw.

Another vigil was held at Earle’s Grove Baptist Church on Sunday afternoon.

“Honest, hardworking. As our own sheriff said, just veteran hardworking deputy,” said Rev. James Dyar, pastor of Earle’s Grove Baptist Church. “We just love him, we love his family and that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

Sheriff Crenshaw said deputies were conducting a traffic stop on South Highway 11 near Mount Pleasant Road at around 12 p.m. A driver in a white Chevy Silverado fled from the traffic stop and deputies began chasing him.

According to Crenshaw, the chase continued until they reached an area near Black Bass Road where shots were fired, and a deputy was struck by gunfire. The deputy, 27-year-old Corporal Lucas Watts, was rushed to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery.

On Friday afternoon, Crenshaw said Watts was in stable but critical condition.

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office has identified the suspect as 50-year-old Gregory Wayne Maxwell and charged him with five counts of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.