Cheraw, SC - CHERAW, SC (WMBF) - A Cheraw police officer will head to Atlanta this weekend to be inducted into a special FBI group after nearly losing his life during a routine traffic stop in February.
Cheraw Police Chief Jay Brooks says Officer Maurice Merritt was shot in February while attempting to pull over a 2010 Chevrolet Impala. After the car refused to pull over for Merritt's patrol car, a short chase ensued between the two, concluding on Godfrey Street.
Investigators say the driver of the car opened fire twice on Merritt on Godfrey Street as he attempted to exit his patrol car. Brooks said one of the .38-caliber bullets was stopped by a bullet-proof vest, but another went in from behind, through Merritt's shoulder blade, and lodged between his neck and collarbone.
Back-up patrols chased the suspect until he was cornered at a warehouse near Godfrey Street. Investigators say as far as they can tell, the suspect fired five shots from the .38 revolver, then turned the final bullet on himself. Police say the suspect shot himself in the head, ultimately resulting in his death. The suspect was identified after his death by investigators as Travis Keyon Quick, 27, of Bennettsville.
Brooks says Merritt drew his firearm after he was shot, but was not able to fire a round. Brooks says no one in the department fired.
Merritt has been serving with the Cheraw Police Department for six years.
According to Brooks, Quick packs a criminal record that includes a completed five-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter in Marlboro County in 2002. He also has several other "violent charges" racked up on his record, including assault and battery, drug and weapons charges.
The suspect was last arrested in 2009 for disorderly conduct.
The vehicle Quick was driving was reported stolen out of North Carolina.
While Merritt is back on duty with the Cheraw Police Department, it's not to the fullest extent. Merritt has returned on desk duty until an April surgery will remove the bullet from his shoulder. Merritt will then be on medical leave for an estimated six weeks.