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S.C. AG’s Office recommends no charges against Darlington County deputies in officer-involved shooting

(Source: WMBF News)
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 4:53 PM EDT
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DARLINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The State Law Enforcement Division finished its investigation into a deputy-involved shooting back in September 2020.

WMBF News obtained the investigative report into Lt. Robert Kilgo and deputy Bradford Simon who fired shots while responding to a domestic violence call.

The report shows on Sept. 24, dispatch received a 911 call from a woman who said she needed someone to get a man named Thomas Lewis out of her house along Trexler Avenue.

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“He has a domestic violence warrant for abusing me and he is at my house… I’m scared for me and my children… he won’t leave and the police have been looking for him,” according to the SLED report.

The documents stated that Lewis had run-ins with law enforcement officers in the past. He was accused of running from deputies the week before, he had been involved in an officer-involved shooting in 2015 and that he had an outstanding arrest warrant for third-degree domestic violence, the documents show.

The SLED report states that when Kilgo and Simon approached the home, they attempted to block Lewis in the driveway.

“Lewis saw Lt. Kilgo and Deputy Simon approaching and entered the Lincoln Navigator before they could apprehend him, ignoring verbal commands that Deputy Simon gave him,” the SLED report states.

According to the documents, there are conflicting statements on when the deputies fired their guns.

Kilgo stated to investigators that Lewis accelerated in reverse, and he heard a female scream and assumed that he had hit a Darlington County Sheriff’s Office investigator, and that’s when he fired into Lewis’ vehicle.

Thomas Lewis
Thomas Lewis((Source: W. Glenn Campbell Detention Center))

According to Simon, Lewis revved the engine in the vehicle, and it “jumped” as Lewis had placed the SUV in gear, and that’s when Kilgo fired into the vehicle.

Both stated that Simon fired into Lewis’ vehicle when the Lewis accelerated forward toward Kilgo.

During his interview with SLED agents, Lewis claims that gunshots were fired as soon as he entered his SUV and before the vehicle moved.

According to the report, Lewis started driving away from the scene and collided with another deputy’s vehicle, and that’s when Kilgo got into his vehicle and hit the back of Lewis’ SUV to “prevent him from using the vehicle to continue his attempt to flee or cause harm.”

Lewis was then taken out of the SUV and authorities found that he had sustained gunshot wounds. He was taken to the hospital before he was booked into the W. Glenn Campbell Detention Center the next day. He was charged with third-degree domestic violence and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

Deputies also discovered that there had been a woman in the SUV and that she had also been shot. She recovered from her injuries and was released from the hospital five days later.

The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office reviewed SLED’s report and determined that Kilgo and Simon used appropriate force under the circumstances.

“The officers discharged their weapons while exercising their lawful duties as law enforcement officers, in response to an apparent threat in order to defend themselves and others from death or serious bodily injury,” a letter from the S.C. Attorney General’s Office states.

Due to this, the AG’s office is not recommending criminal charges against the law enforcement officers.

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