GREENWOOD, S.C. (FOX Carolnia) - The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division said agents are investigating after an officer was shot and the suspect was killed when the policeman returned fire in Greenwood Thursday evening.
A spokesperson for Greenwood PD tells us they arrived on scene just before 11 p.m.
According to spokesperson Johnathan Link for the police department, an officer responded to a domestic disturbance call where the suspect reportedly pulled a gun on a woman along Hospital Street.
Gerald Brooks, Chief of Police provided the following statement on the preliminary information under investigation:
"On Thursday, May 21, around 9:30 PM, the Greenwood Police Department was dispatched to a report of a man holding a gun on a woman. Our preliminary information is that the woman who called for police stated that the incident had happened a couple of hours previously, but that the man was acting up again. When the first officer arrived, the couple was outside the residence on North Hospital Street. As the officer exited our patrol vehicle, the woman approached him and handed him a bullet that she represented to be one of “his” (the man’s) bullets. The couple proceeded toward the front stoop of the residence, which was only a few steps away. The woman unlocked the front door, and the couple and our police officer entered the living room.
The conversation inside was somewhat chaotic. All three were speaking at once. The officer was asking where the gun was. The man was saying he did not have a gun. The woman was insisting that he did have a gun. Due to the information provided by dispatch, the bullet the woman gave the officer, the woman’s insistence that the man had a gun, and the man’s body language and movements, the officer strongly suspected that the man had the gun somewhere on his person. The officer attempted to conduct a frisk or “pat down search” for the gun. The man resisted and he and the officer struggled and fell to the floor. The man pulled a revolver from his clothing and shot the officer point blank in his chest. The officer returned fire in self-defense."
During the response, Link said the officer and suspect got into a scuffle, and the suspect fired a shot at the officer, hitting the officer's vest. The officer returned fire, striking and killing the suspect.
Friday morning, Sonny Cox with the Greenwood County Coroner's Office identified the suspect as 60-year-old Willie Lee Quarles, Sr.
According to the coroner, Quarles suffered a gunshot wound to his upper chest area. Cox said that Quarles died on scene at the home. An autopsy will be performed later Friday morning.
Link said SLED was called to investigate per protocol. He told us the officer appears to be fine and the vest stopped the round fully. It did cause some deep bruising.
He said no other officers were involved.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends." Chief Brooks expressed his department's condolences to the assailant's family during this time.
The officer involved is placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of SLED's investigation.
SLED confirmed they are investigating but did not disclose any additional details.
SLED said the Greenwood shooting was the 18th in South Carolina this year and the first involving Greenwood police.