We’ve been following this brazen ambush of a police deputy and it’s with great relief that we can say he’s been taken down in a shootout with police. This guy just calmly walked into a gas station and shot the police deputy. He was clearly targeting a cop, any cop…
The man police suspected in the attempted murder of a Berkeley County deputy was identified through a DNA match, and was fatally shot by police after opening fire on them, authorities say.
Jerome Thomas Caldwell, 32, of Mount Pleasant, died after a 10-hour standoff, according to Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten. Caldwell was pronounced dead at 1:59 p.m., Wooten said.
Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said at 1:47 p.m. Thursday, Caldwell came out of the rear of the apartment in which he had been holed up since approximately 4 a.m. and fired multiple shots at police officers. The officers returned fire, fatally striking Caldwell, Mullen said.
On Thursday afternoon, Caldwell’s mother said she spoke on the phone to her son while he was inside the apartment and right before he decided to come out. According to the mother, Caldwell, who lived in Mount Pleasant, was in downtown because he was visiting his child in the hospital.
Caldwell’s mother said her son asked her to turn him over to investigators so the family would get the reward money.
Mullen said police negotiators were in contact with Caldwell throughout the day by telephone. Mullen also said shots had been heard inside the apartment throughout the day during those negotiations.
“Throughout these negotiations, there were discussions about shooting police officers, there were discussions about committing suicide, and there were also discussions about several demands that were made,” Mullen said. “As we talked with this individual, our goal was to have him come out peaceably, and this situation end without any incident.”
Mullen reiterated this was preliminary information in a fluid situation.
“There’s been a lot of developments that have occurred, and we are working with SLED,” Mullen said. “They are here on the scene, their crime scene is here, and they will be handling the investigation as we go forward. The police department will continue to cooperate in any way that we can.”
Mullen sent out their sympathies to Caldwell’s family, who he said would be receiving regular updates from police as the investigation continues.
DETAILS FROM THE BEGINNING OF THIS CASE: DEPUTY AMBUSHED AT GAS STATION BY MASKED MAN
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) — The deputy who was seriously wounded in a shooting outside a Berkeley County gas station Thursday night was identified by the sheriff as Night Shift Supervisor Will Rogers. He has been in surgery at Medical University Hospital since late Thursday night.
Rogers, said Sheriff Butch Henerey at a 3 a.m. press conference, has been a member of the law enforcement community for 25 years. He also ran for sheriff in the Republican primary.
According to Henerey, the shooting happened around 10:30 p.m., shortly after Rogers pulled into the Exxon at the intersection of Old Highway 52 and Cypress Gardens Road and started talking to a customer at the store.
At that time, a person wearing a mask came from behind the store and shot Rogers several times. The suspect then carjacked another customer and fled the area. The vehicle the suspect stole, a black Hyundai Santa Fe, was recovered at a nearby boat landing. It has been turned over to the State Law Enforcement Division for processing, Henerey said.
The SUV was found around 12:20 a.m., about 30 minutes after deputies released the description of the vehicle.
Henerey described the suspect as a man ranging in height from 5-feet, 10-inches to 6-feet, 4-inches tall with a thin build and weighing approximately 225 pounds. The man’s face was covered by a mask, so they do not know if he was black or white.
However, several viewers reported getting calls from the county government saying the suspect was black. The caller said the automated call described the man as armed and dangerous and told people not to approach him if he is seen.
The man was wearing a long-sleeved white shirt, gray running pants with a white stripe, and carrying a red and maroon silk bag.
BREAKING VIDEO OF SUSPECT CARJACKING AFTER SHOOTING COP:
At the Exxon station, at least a dozen law enforcement officers gathered. Police and deputies from several departments, including the cities of Charleston and North Charleston, all were seen on Highway 52 heading to the scene of the shooting. A helicopter could be heard circling overhead, and agents from the State Law Enforcement Division were seen around midnight canvassing the scene.
Henerey thanks all of those agencies who responded from three counties and countless jurisdictions. “Our heartfelt thanks go out to all those who responded tonight,” he said.
Outside Medical University Hospital was a similar scene as officers gathered to find out more information about the wounded officer. Around the time the press conference started in Moncks Corner, officers waiting outside the hospital in downtown Charleston said they were cautiously optimistic that the officer would survive the attack.
Rogers was shot several times, Henerey said, but no one else was injured in the attack.