Two officers reach settlement in lawsuit regarding deadly 2011 shooting in Darlington

Two officers reach settlement in lawsuit regarding deadly 2011 shooting in Darlington

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) – A settlement was reached this week between two Darlington County law enforcement agents who were involved in a deadly October 2011 shooting that resulted in a wrongful death lawsuit.

According to documents from the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, defendants Robert McIntyre and John Specht agreed to settle their portion of the wrongful death and survival claim in the amount of $500,000.

The other defendants named – Darlington County Sheriff Wayne Byrd; the DCSO; both the county and the city of Darlington; the Darlington Police Department; Ben Weatherford; Clyde M. Shepherd; Judith Kate Green; and John Does one through 10 – remain involved in the suit, court documents state.

The lawsuit was brought Ernestine Wingate, named as the personal representative of the estate of Ernest Russell.

Russell was killed after policed entered a business on South Main Street in Darlington on Oct. 19, 2011 to issue a warrant and were forced to fire shots at the suspect, who was reportedly armed.

According to the court documents, no knock or announcement was made by any law enforcement officers before entering the business.

It was inside that approximately nine "point-blank" shots were fired at Russell, killing him, the documents stated.

The documents stated the defendants' search was, "objectively unreasonable," as they allegedly did not knock and announce, and give Russell a reasonable amount of time to come to the door and comply with law enforcement's request.

Five days after the shooting, Weatherford, along with his attorney, gave a sworn statement to the State Law Enforcement Division as part of their investigation. It reportedly indicated that Russell had a gun in his hand and did not comply with commands to put it down, the court documents stated.

"He then looked right at me and raised the gun towards me. I could see down the barrel. I could see every hole in the cylinder. Feeling that my life was in jeopardy, that is when I shot," according to Weatherford's statement in the court documents.

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