SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office said a deputy was shot and killed Tuesday in the line of duty.
According to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to Chaffee Drive, off of Anderson Mill Road, in the Oak Forest subdivision around 3:20 p.m. for a domestic violence call.
Deputy Austin Derek Aldridge, 25, was shot as he approached the home, the sheriff’s office said. He was taken to an area hospital, where he died.
“He was ambushed, he was shot,” said Sheriff Chuck Wright.
Sheriff Wright said Aldridge had been with the sheriff’s office for three years.
“I called 911 and let them know that an officer had been shot,” said neighbor Jason Smith. “I saw the suspect come out and he tried to get into the officer’s car. He couldn’t and he turned around and back in his house.”
“He came back out – my other neighbor had come out and at that point – and he turned around and pointed his rifle at my neighbor and he went back inside,” Smith said. “He got in his pickup and drove off right as officers were coming down the street.”
Neighbors gave deputies a description of the suspect, his vehicle and his direction of travel.
While other deputies secured the scene so EMS could treat Aldridge, another deputy spotted the suspect vehicle traveling down Anderson Mill Road towards Hwy. 290 and attempted a traffic stop.
The sheriff’s office said the suspect acted like he was going to surrender, but then he fired at that deputy, who returned fire.
The suspect continued down Anderson Mill Road until he wrecked near a business just before the Hwy. 290 intersection and ran into the woods after firing at other deputies.
The sheriff’s office said none of the deputies at the second and third shootings were injured.
“After knowing what was going on with one of our brothers, this deputy charged in and wouldn’t quit,” said Sheriff Wright. “He chased this guy, guy acted like he was wanting to surrender, gets out, shoots at the deputy, deputy returns fire.”
(Watch above: Full news conference with Sheriff Chuck Wright.)
Sheriff Wright said the suspect, identified as Duane Heard, was shot twice by deputies and is expected to survive.
Heard was charged Wednesday with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
A perimeter was established and SWAT and canine deputies located the suspect in the woods, where he was arrested and was taken to the hospital.
Wright said the suspect was found lying beside a rifle.
“Our men showed the best restraint of anybody I’ve ever seen in my life,” Wright said.
The sheriff’s office asked SLED to investigate.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to support Deputy Aldridge’s family.