Former SWAT officer shot and killed by deputies - - Columbia, South Carolina

Former SWAT officer shot and killed by deputies

By Taylor Kearns - bio | email

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A former SWAT officer was shot and killed in a struggle with law enforcement.

Investigators said 43-year-old Craig Thompson attacked a deputy with a knife. Deputies were at his home on Conrad Circle near Irmo responding to a domestic violence call.

Craig Thompson was a 10-year veteran of the Lexington County Sheriff's Department. A former detective and member of the department's SWAT unit, he was trained to respond to hostile situations. But the sheriff said Thompson may have called on that training to take his own life Friday morning.

"It was very very loud," said neighbor Dan Zavoras, "I'm an ex vet so I knew immediately that was gunfire. So I just started checking around seeing what the heck is goin on, ya know? And that's when we found out what was going on over here." Zavoras lives across the street from the house on Conrad Circle.

Around 11:00pm Thursday, a distressed wife ran to a neighbor's house and dialed 911. Lexington County Sheriff James Metts said she left after her husband, Thompson, threatened to kill her.

She said Thompson had several guns in the house along with the couples twin 4-year-old girls. "He told the supervisor he was ready for anything we might want to try because he had been trained in these types of situations, and if there was force used, he was gonna return force," said Sheriff Metts.

Metts said the SWAT unit was called in when it became clear that Thompson wasn't coming out. "As they were talking to him, they heard him loading or racking a gun inside the house, so they knew," said Sheriff Metts.

Hours had passed. Then finally, around 3:00AM Friday, Thompson agreed to come out. "He said he was gonna come out, but I don't think he had any intentions of surrendering," said Sheriff Metts.

Metts said Thompson was wearing a utility vest loaded with guns and ammunition. He came face-to-face with two SWAT officers from the team he was once part of. Metts said Thompson pulled a knife from that vest and stabbed one of the officers. He says deputies were forced to act. "He knew that if he posed that threat to law enforcement that we would have no choice but to do what was done," said Sheriff Metts.

The sheriff said the twin 4-year-olds and the wife are ok.

The deputy that was attacked is recovering from a minor stab wound.

Thompson was a member of the Lexington County Sheriff's Department from 1989 until 1999 when he resigned as a detective.

The Irmo Police Department arrested him back in March of 2009 on a DUI charge.

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