Sheriff: Deputy coroner attempted to kill two before turning gun on himself

Leonard Bradley. (Source: Richland County Coroner's Office website)
Leonard Bradley. (Source: Richland County Coroner's Office website)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A deputy coroner with the Richland County Coroner's Office almost killed two others before turning the gun on himself, according to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.

Lott detailed what he called an "almost" domestic murder-suicide during a news conference on Wednesday.

Leonard Bradley showed up to a home on Clarkson Road at Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and opened fire on Richland County Refuse Control employee Levi Brown who had stopped at the home to visit a female acquaintance, according to Lott.

Brown was shot in the arm, but Lott said he was saved thanks to a county-issued bullet-proof vest he was wearing.

The female acquaintance, meanwhile, managed to run inside the home and safely lock herself in a room, Lott said, and Bradley attempted to pursue her inside.

Bradley, Lott said, was unable to get to the woman and walked outside. It was at that moment, according to Lott, Bradley turned the gun on himself.

Bradley had been with the Richland County Coroner's Office since 2006.

"A very tragic incident yesterday," Lott said. "It was fortunate that Mr. Brown nor the female was killed."

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts echoed those sentiments, saying the incident was "tough."

"We're family," Watts said. "The coroner's office is big by standards of other coroner's offices across the state, but we're not big when it comes to the people there who are family."

Watts said he and Bradley had worked together for 40 years. Still, Watts said he and his office are not numb to the feelings this incident has caused.

If you or someone you love is battling depression or contemplating suicide, there are resources you can go to. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, a service that's available 24/7, and it's free and confidential support from professionals. You can call 1-800-273-8255.

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