BLUFFTON

Former trooper won't face charges for shooting intruder

astice@islandpacket.comNovember 30, 2012 

A retired S.C. Highway Patrol trooper who shot and killed an intruder at his home in Bluffton acted in self-defense and will not face charges, the Solicitor's Office said Thursday.

William "Chuck" Wise, currently an assistant director at a security firm, killed 39-year-old Paul Edward Rowell on Nov. 14 after a struggle, investigators have said.

Solicitor Duffie Stone reviewed an investigation by the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office and the S.C. Law Enforcement Division and determined Wise was within his rights.

"Mr. Wise had a right to protect himself, his family and his home," Stone said. "The evidence showed that is exactly what he did. He will not be charged with any criminal offense."

Rowell was from Mobile, Ala. Investigators believe he also threatened Wise's neighbor before coming to Wise's home on Palmetto Bluff Road. Rowell also was implicated in incidents the week before he attacked Wise, Sheriff P.J. Tanner has said. Tanner declined to elaborate.

The Sheriff's Office investigation into the shooting continues, Capt. Toby McSwain said Thursday. McSwain declined to release further details.

Wise told investigators he was awakened at 2:15 a.m. Nov. 14 by his dogs' barking. A strange man, later identified as Rowell, approached from a truck parked out front. Wise got a handgun and fired a warning shot before Rowell attacked him in an attempt to grab the gun, the Sheriff's Office has said. As the two men struggled, Wise fired several shots, killing Rowell.

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