LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - It played out for most of the day on Wednesday. There was a chase, a crash, a stand-off, and then an officer-involved shooting on I-26.
Lexington County deputies said they had to open fire when an armed suspect in a crashed car made a sudden movement.
"Before I seen who it was, I posted—I made a negative comment. Few of them, actually. But then I found out who it was, you know, and I was like, wow, I'm eating my words," said Rob Melton, who's from Red Bank.
Turns out, Melton knew the armed man inside the car: 29-year-old Robert Shaw. They had mutual friends in West Columbia.
"I used to hang out with him a lot, a good bit. I'd talk to him here and there, and I'd see him a good bit over there, man, and, you know, he had some problems," Melton said.
Even though they hadn't talked for years, Melton remembered the face well. He said Shaw lived a troubled life, struggled with mental problems, and had a complicated family life too.
"He was a very bright kid, man, very bright kid, you know," Melton said. "I tried to get him to focus on school, you know, get you a career, get your life together—and I guess it didn't happen."
According to a SLED rap sheet, Shaw's trouble with the law escalated about a decade ago. It shows he was charged with crimes like theft from cars, home burglaries, and meth possession.
A West Columbia report from last November says an officer found Shaw with a gun he shouldn't have had since he became a convicted felon after a burglary in 2010.
Another Lexington County report from last December says he led deputies on another chase.
On top of all of that, another report from August 2012 shows his own mother reported him for repeatedly harassing her for money on her work phone.
"You could see it," Melton said. "He wasn't really very stable. He had it rough growing up, from what I could tell."
Melton said he thinks if there's anything to learn from what happened Wednesday it's that the country needs more mental health treatment.
Shaw's mother, meanwhile, said her son was "wonderful" and said the media and public should let the past be the past.
"Yeah, he's been in trouble," she said. "But everybody's been in trouble with the law."