SLED: Man killed in Darlington Co. deputy-involved shooting pointed gun at deputy while in bed

A letter from an assistant attorney general states that charges will not be filed against a...
A letter from an assistant attorney general states that charges will not be filed against a deputy who shot and killed a man back in July 2022 while responding to reports of loud music.(Source: WMBF News)
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 12:20 PM EDT
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DARLINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The case has been closed in a deadly deputy-involved shooting case in Darlington County.

WMBF News obtained the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s investigative report on the July 22 shooting through a Freedom of Information Act request.

It states that in the early morning hours, 65-year-old Ronnie James called Darlington County Communications two times to complain about loud music and asked for the sheriff to come by while also using various expletives.

RELATED COVERAGE | SLED: 65-year-old man killed after deputy-involved shooting in Darlington County

Sg.t Danny Truett and Cpl. Christopher Newton with the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office responded to James’ home on East Old Camden Road in the Hartsville area.

The two identified themselves with the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office and were let into the home by James’ grandson. Truett did not have a body-worn camera on him, while Newton did have one on.

Newton stayed in the living room with the grandson while Truett went to James’ bedroom where he was lying in bed, according to the SLED report.

Documents show that James asked twice to see Truett’s hands, and Truett complied by showing both the front and back of his hands.

Then after a brief discussion between the two, Truett said James pointed a revolver at the deputy, the SLED report states. Newton’s body-worn camera did not capture James pointing the revolved.

The SLED investigation shows that Truett told James several times to drop the gun, but James did not comply.

“Feeling his life was in ‘danger,’ Sgt. Truett discharged his pistol at Ronnie James seven times. Sgt. Truett said he fired from approximately ‘20 feet’ and stopped firing when the revolver was no longer pointed at him,” the SLED report states.

Truett told SLED agents during the investigation that he believed that James would have shot him or Newton if he had not fired his gun.

After the shooting, Truett and Newton removed a revolver from James’ left hand, along with a shotgun from under James’ right hand and a pistol that was also located on James’ right side, according to the SLED report.

A report from the coroner’s office shows that James died from gunshot wounds to the head and chest. He also had gunshot wounds to his right hand, right arm, chest and cheek.

The case was handed over to the district attorney’s office to review.

After reviewing the investigation, Jerrod Fussnecker, an assistant attorney general, sent a letter to SLED stating that charges would not be filed against Truett because there is “insufficient evidence to merit criminal prosecution.”