Coroner identifies Latta shooting victim, SLED releases information

Coroner identifies Latta shooting victim, SLED releases information

DILLON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A man was killed during a confrontation with a Dillon County Sheriff's Office deputy Wednesday, the State Law Enforcement Division confirmed. The State Law Enforcement Division announced Thursday that a call came in about a home-break-in, when deputies arrived on scene they discovered a family dispute. One of the family members involved in the dispute was brandishing a knife, according to Thom Berry with SLED.

Deputies attempted to control the person holding the knife and used pepper spray, which was ineffective. Confrontation with the suspect continued and resulted in a deputy firing at least one bullet, which struck the suspect, resulting in death.

The victim is identified as John Wesley Smith, 27, from Latta, according to coroner Donnie Grimsley.

The shooting occurred at a residence on Pocosin Road near Latta off of Highway 38, confirmed Captain Cliff Arnette with the Dillon County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday afternoon.

Betty Smith, John Smith's mother says, “It was not a violent situation at all... there was no reason for it. This could have been handled a whole different way and my son might be sitting in jail, but he would have been alive.”
Betty Smith hadn’t seen her son since last year and was at the house where he was shot in a confrontation with sheriff’s deputies.

“I don’t even know where to begin to deal with what first… a lot of anger, a lot of anger. They can’t give me my son back. A thousand sorry’s will not bring my son back…Nobody can do that for me. What could have been a simple, simple issue just taken care of," said Smith.

John Smith’s grandparents raised him inside this house… along with his three year old son. Karin Smith, his Grandma says,  “He played with him, daddy what you doing or woke him up, c’mon its breakfast. It’s just terrible… he’s going to be missed right and left. We loved him and he knew it.”

Smith says all they wanted was police to come and help get Smith out of the house. “But I didn’t see that yesterday… what can you say more?” she said.

John's grandparents have full custody of his three year old son, Jackson.
The Dillon County Coroner says the results of the autopsy will be released Friday.

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