Coroner IDs man killed in Charleston County officer-involved shooting
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County Coroner’s Office has released the name of the Walterboro man who died in a shooting after opening fire on two Charleston County deputies Sunday afternoon.
James Rakeem Pierce, 28, died at the scene of the incident Sunday afternoon in the 4900 block of Savannah Highway from a gunshot wound, Coroner Bobbi Jo O’Neal said.
The sheriff’s office released names and photos of the two deputies involved in the shootout during a traffic stop and say they plan to release dashcam footage at the end of the week.
Deputy Evan Cubbage, 36, who was wounded three times during an exchange of gunfire with a suspect, was released from the hospital Sunday night, approximately five hours after the shooting, sheriff’s spokesman Andrew Knapp said.
A second deputy on the scene, Alexander Hodge, 34, who arrived a short time after the stop to provide backup, also returned fire with the man, who died at the scene, Knapp said. Hodge was not injured.
The sheriff’s office showed only about 20 seconds of dashcam footage of the incident to members of the media, community advocates and county council members. During the brief screening, which was held at the sheriff’s office, no cellphones were allowed.
Deputies said the footage would be released by the end of the week but that body cam footage would not be released until the State Law Enforcement Division completes its investigation of the shooting. SLED is normally called in to investigate any shooting involving a South Carolina law enforcement officer.
SLED spokesperson Renée Wunderlich said late Monday afternoon the investigation was ongoing and that SLED would not release any information about the case until the investigation is over.
Knapp said the traffic stop on a vehicle began shortly before 3:45 p.m. in the 4900 block of Savannah Highway near Ravenel. Dashcam footage showed a woman driving the vehicle with a male passenger.
During the traffic stop, Cubbage called for backup from Hodge. They were the only two deputies patrolling the Ravenel area at the time, the sheriff’s office said.
Sheriff Kristin Graziano said Hodge was on the scene for 15 seconds when Cubbage asked the passenger to step out of the vehicle at which point he opened fire on the two deputies.
The sheriff’s office described Cubbage’s wounds as non-life-threatening.
Dashcam footage showed the man continuing to fire from the ground after he was wounded until he was fatally injured.
Deputies said the female driver stepped out of the car with her hands up and was not injured. She was detained, but deputies have not released her name or specified any charges she might face.
Fellow deputies and sheriff’s office command staff were at the hospital to show support when he was released at about 9 p.m. Sunday.
“This traffic stop highlights the danger that our deputies face day in and day out,” Sheriff Kristin Graziano said. “They have to put themselves in harm’s way. We are very fortunate that these two deputies survived this incident.”
The Charleston County Coroner’s Office has not yet released the identity of the man who died in the shooting.
The female driver of the vehicle was detained, Knapp said. The sheriff’s office has not provided her name or whether she faces any charges.
Graziano placed Cubbage and Hodge on paid administrative leave per the agency’s protocol.
Cubbage has been with the sheriff’s office since August 2020. Hodge joined the sheriff’s office in December 2018.
This incident was the 11th officer-involved shooting in South Carolina so far this year, Wunderlich said. It is the first officer-involved shooting this year in Charleston County. The agency had a single officer-invovled shooting in 2022, she said.
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