Officers justified in shooting drug warrant suspect in Myrtle Be -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Officers justified in shooting drug warrant suspect in Myrtle Beach, solicitor says

Photo of the apartment that police served a narcotics warrant to. Source: Christel Bell Photo of the apartment that police served a narcotics warrant to. Source: Christel Bell
Source: Drew Hansen Source: Drew Hansen

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – An independent solicitor has concluded that the three officers who were involved in the shooting of a Myrtle Beach man while serving a narcotics warrant were justified in their use of force, and recommended that no charges be filed against them.

Julian Ray Betton, 30, was shot as officers with the 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit attempted to serve a search warrant and arrest warrants at an apartment in the 600 block of Withers Swash Drive on April 16.

At the time of the incident, Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said that the man inside the apartment, later identified as Betton, shot at the officers serving the warrants, and they fired back. The independent investigation, conducted by 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett, revealed that while Betton never fired his gun, he did point it at them.

“The officers were entitled to defend themselves from the moment he presented a danger to their lives by presenting the weapon,” Brackett stated in a letter to the State Law Enforcement Division, the agency conducting the investigation into the shooting.

The three DEU officers involved in the shooting were identified by SLED as Frank Waddell of the Coastal Carolina University Police Department, Chris Dennis of the Horry County Sheriff's Office and Officer David Belue of the Myrtle Beach Police Department

Brackett found that there is ample evidence that the search warrant for Betton’s residence was lawfully obtained, as he had warrants pending for distribution of marijuana on two occasions to an undercover police informant. Betton was also known to be heavily armed, and his property was under surveillance with the use of a closed circuit camera system.

Betton was also a known fugitive from the state of Ohio for failing for comply with a sentence related to the trafficking on cocaine, Brackett stated. Because of this, he as barred from possessing firearms or ammunition.

Brackett, a solicitor with the 16th Circuit, was tapped to investigate the incident due to a potential conflict of interest between officers from the 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit and the 15th Circuit Solicitor.

Betton survived the shooting and was taken to a nearby hospital for surgery. Three criminal charges for the manufacture or possession of drugs were filed against Betton on June 29, according to court records.

A July 6 Facebook post from a Julian Betton who lives in Myrtle Beach reads: ""'They shot me 9 times, Real [racial epithet]s don't die!'"

WMBF News has reached out to an attorney representing Betton for comment.

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