SPARTANBURG, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright confirmed Thursday morning that the original charges for two men accused of firing shots at deputies early Sunday morning had been reduced, and that he is not making any apologies for comments he made after the incident.
"I made the comment that we had the right to kill those people, and we did. We had every right by law to fire back," Wright said.
He added, "I didn’t say anything that I need to apologize for. It’s very irresponsible to shoot from a moving car, even from a parked car.”
The sheriff's office said previously that the shooting happened around 4:15 a.m. in Inman. Two deputies were reportedly in a parking lot along Accurate Way at the time, which runs parallel to I-26. SCSO said, without warning, the deputies heard several gunshots and saw muzzle flashes from the direction of I-26 East. The deputies then moved from their parked positions and heard more gunshots. They called it in to dispatch, and SCSO said one of several deputies who responded to the scene saw a green Chevrolet Camaro driving fast on the eastbound lanes of the interstate, away from the area.
A traffic stop was performed on the vehicle, and two men were taken into custody: 23-year-old Tarus Mallory and 22-year-old Akymzee Holbert.
Both men were charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
“The two young men who acted like idiots earlier complied with what the officers asked them to (at the time of the traffic stop), so there was no reason for anything more than that," Wright added. "(The deputies) weren’t thinking about the public outcry or anything like that, and to be honest, the public has no idea what we go through.”
On Thursday, a magistrate court employee confirmed those initial charges had been dropped and a new charge of aggravated breach of peace had been filed for both men.
Mallory and Holbert were both released from jail on Wednesday, the court employee confirmed.
FOX Carolina spoke to both men on Thursday. Mallory said he was also cited for driving under suspension and Holbert faces a charge of simple marijuana possession as well.
Hear Mallory and Holbert's side of the story:
Wright said the men admitted to firing shots from a moving car, but not at deputies.
“They did admit to shooting, but they didn’t know the officers were over there," Wright said. Of course, that’s what I would’ve said too.”
Wright said further investigation revealed there was not enough evidence to prove attempted murder in a court of law, but Wright said he was confident that aggravated breach of peace could be proven and that is why the charges were reduced.
“I can’t prove it, so I had to give them the benefit of the doubt, and that is exactly what I did," Wright said.
The sheriff's office released the updated warrants in the case, which accuse both men of discharging a firearm from a moving vehicle.
The sheriff's office also released an updated incident report which stated, that after re-interviewing the suspects, examining the scene in daylight, and canvassing nearby businesses for surveillance video, "not enough evidence exists that either suspect intentionally fired weapons at either deputy."
The report concludes by stating that after a consultation with the solicitor's office, the charges of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime were dismissed.
FOX Carolina has also reached out to the solicitor's office for an update in this case.