GREENVILLE, S.C. -- An internal investigation found that two South Carolina sheriff's deputies who fired their guns during an encounter that left a man dead were justified in using deadly force.
Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis said in a video posted online Saturday that the investigation by his agency's office of professional standards cleared the two deputies who fired at 40-year-old Earl Fitzgerald Hunter on June 23. The State Law Enforcement Division and the 13th Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office are continuing to investigate to determine whether the deputies' actions complied with state law, the sheriff said.
The names of the two deputies have not been released.
In addition to the statement from the sheriff, the video posted to YouTube included a statement from sheriff's office spokesman Lt. Ryan Flood and footage from the deputies' body-worn cameras.
Hunter faced charges in Spartanburg County on charges of attempted murder, armed robbery and possessing a weapon during a violent crime, Flood said in the video. The deputies went to a duplex in Greenville just before 5 p.m. on June 23 to help a U.S. Marshals Service task force serving arrests warrants on Hunter.
Flood says an occupant of the duplex gave the deputies permission to enter the duplex, and they saw Hunter in a back kitchen area and began giving him verbal commands. As the deputies moved in to take Hunter into custody, he “pulled away and produced a pistol,” Flood said.”
“Fearing for their safety, two of the deputies discharged their firearms to stop the threat,” Flood said.
Hunter was hit by the gunfire and was pronounced dead at the scene. No officers or other occupants of the duplex were injured, Flood said.