UNION COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) - A Union County man is dead after deputies say he fired at them during a dispute that started over a dog barking Saturday evening.
According to Sheriff David Taylor, deputies responded to a residence on Baber Street at 9:45 p.m. to calls that a resident, identified as 81-year-old Harold Thompson, was firing a gun into the air outside.
Taylor says deputies made contact with the 911 caller who told them they let their dog outside to use the bathroom, but the dog began barking at Thompson. The caller told deputies Thompson became upset and while they tried to get the dog inside that Thompson began arguing and cursing at them. The caller then said they became fearful when Thompson allegedly pulled the gun out and shot it up the road, forcing them to retreat inside.
Taylor says deputies tried to make contact with Thompson, but Thompson reportedly did not answer neither his front nor side door. Taylor also says they called Thompson home phone and a family member to try to make contact, but says both attempts were unsuccessful.
At this point, Taylor says the decision was made to get an evaluation order on Thompson, and once the order arrived UCSO decided to send in the Special Response Team (SRT) in to Thompson's home.
Taylor says once entry was made, SRT members ordered Thompson and anyone else inside to present themselves with their hands in the air and in plain sight. After several orders, Taylor says Thompson - the only person at home - came out from a back bedroom carrying the firearm while walking down a hallway. Taylor says deputies acknowledged Thompson aimed at them and refused to lower his weapon.
Thompson allegedly continued to walk towards deputies in the kitchen and then fired towards several deputies, resulting in the deputies returning fire. Ultimately, Taylor says Thompson was fatally wounded in the encounter. No deputies, however, were hurt.
Taylor says he contacted EMS to respond, along with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Both contacts are customary in deputy-involved shootings, per Taylor.
UCSO says SLED will now take over the investigation and all deputies involved are on administrative leave.