State agents identify man accused of wounding SC trooper during traffic stop
BAMBERG, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division says a 37-year-old man faces four charges in connection with a weekend shooting that left a state trooper wounded.
Derrick Gathers is charged with two counts of attempted murder, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and failure to stop for blue lights, SLED spokesperson Renée Wunderlich said. A mugshot of Gathers was not immediately available.
The charges stem from an officer-involved shooting that happened early Sunday morning in Bamberg County, she said.
South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. B.A. Frazier conducted a traffic stop on Gathers’ vehicle, a dark Mazda SUV with a paper tag, for speeding early Sunday morning on Highway 78 in Denmark, court documents state.
Wunderlich said a Bamberg County Sheriff’s deputy was in the area and stopped to assist the trooper.
SLED investigators say Gathers fired a pistol during the traffic stop, wounding the trooper in the face. The trooper and the deputy returned fire, striking the vehicle as Gathers drove away, Wunderlich said.
A second trooper, a second Bamberg County deputy and a Bamberg Police officer found and chased the vehicle through Bamberg County and into the Branchville community of Orangeburg County where Gathers crashed his vehicle, Wunderlich said.
SLED says Gathers was released from MUSC where he had been taken after the crash and was then taken to the Bamberg County Detention Center.
Frazier, meanwhile, is said to be making “significant progress” at the hospital and is currently in stable condition. He has spoken with members of his family as well as visitors, Highway Patrol spokesperson Heather Biance said.
The shooting is the ninth officer-involved shooting in South Carolina this year and the second involving the South Carolina Highway Patrol, Wunderlich said. It was the first involving the Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office this year.
Wunderlich said that in 2022, there were 32 officer-involved shootings in the state and only one involved the state’s Highway Patrol. The Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office did not have an officer-involved shooting in 2022.
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