LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A suspect with a number of criminal offenses on his record was shot and killed during an officer-involved shooting in Lexington County Wednesday morning.
The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department tweeted that the suspect, later identified as Zachary Alexander Kinard, was seen in the town of Lexington after a Lexington Police officer responded to a report of someone breaking into cars on Mineral Springs Road. Police attempted to stop Kinard after confirming the car he was in was stolen.
The pursuit traveled through multiple jurisdictions and ended on Hilton Younce Road in Pelion where Kinard lost control of his vehicle. The Richland County Sheriff’s Department says that in an attempt to stop the suspect, the RCSD deputy gave Kinard a verbal command and the suspect pointed a gun at him. The deputy then fired his service weapon.
The pursuit involved the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Lexington Police, and the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
No officers were injured during this incident. Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon requested that the State Law Enforcement Division lead the investigation into the incident.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said this pursuit happened at a time in the day that only law enforcement and bad guys are out, and called Kinard “a one-man crime wave.”
Two stolen guns were recovered from the stolen vehicle - one of which was stolen from a vehicle Wednesday morning, in addition to a gun stolen from Richland County the week before.
Kinard has a lengthy criminal history, including burglaries, motor vehicle thefts, and drug charges. His most recent arrest was for possession of a stolen weapon and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon by the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department in March 2019.
Lott called the shooting justified and stands by his deputy’s actions. The last time a Richland County deputy was involved in an officer-involved shooting was in August 2016, Lott said.
The deputy invovled is identified as K9 Deputy Richard Hazel and his partner, K9 Nero. Hazel has been with the sheriff’s department since July 2013 and has served as a K9 deputy for two years.
When asked why his department wasn’t investigating the officer-involved shooting, which is typical of his agency, he said SLED was investigating per Sheriff Koon’s request.
In relation to this, the Lexington Police is continuing to look into the vehicle break-ins on Mineral Springs Road. If your vehicle was involved, please call 803-359-6260 to file a report.