The driver and deputy involved in a shooting Friday evening at Tanger 2 Outlets in Bluffton have been identified.
Sgt. Raymond Heroux stopped a vehicle driven by Akeem Jenkins, of Hilton Head Island, in the outlet mall’s parking lot near the Nike Factory Store around 5:45 p.m. after he observed “suspicious activity,” according to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office news release. Officials would not provide further information about reasons for the stop.
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At that time, Heroux called for back up to respond, and Sgt. Selena Nelson arrived on the scene to assist him, the release said.
During the traffic stop, Heroux was “trapped in the open driver’s side door and dragged through the parking lot,” the release said.
Heroux “drew his service pistol and fired at the subject,” the release said.
Jenkins, the sole occupant of the vehicle, was wounded, and Heroux was injured. Nelson followed on foot as the vehicle moved and witnessed the incident, the release said.
Heroux and Jenkins were treated at the scene by emergency medical service personnel.
As they were stabilizing Jenkins, they found what appeared to be a “substantial amount of suspected cocaine on his person,” the release said.
Jenkins was transported to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah by helicopter for treatment. Calls to the hospital for a condition report were not immediately returned on Saturday.
Beaufort County Court records show that Jenkins previously pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary and possession of marijuana in August of 2013. He was also charged with possession of less than one gram of methamphetamine or cocaine based drug in January, but the cases were dismissed.
Heroux was brought by ambulance to Hilton Head Regional Medical Center, where he was treated and later released, the release said.
The scene at Tanger 2 was taken over by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, as is protocol for all officer-involved shooting cases, the release said. SLED agents will be looking into the traffic stop, the shooting and the suspected cocaine.
The suspected cocaine tested positive at the scene and was found to be of “trafficking weight,” which would make possession a felony offense, the release said.
As a result, SLED agents obtained a warrant for Jenkins’ arrest late Friday night. Jenkins remains at the Savannah hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds and will be charged upon his release, the release said.
Heroux has been employed by the Sheriff’s Office since September 2010 and was employed by the Beaufort Police Department for seven years previously, the release said.
He has been involved in an traffic stop shooting before.
On June 29, 2012, Heroux and Deputy Kyle Strickland shot at two men in a car after the driver attempted to run over several deputies during a traffic stop at the Canal Apartments complex in Burton.
SLED also investigated that incident, and 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone found that both Heroux and Strickland “acted appropriately,” Stone said in 2012.
The driver of that car, Johnnie Williams, of Savannah, was charged with three counts of attempted murder and single counts of child endangerment and failing to stop for blue lights.
Nelson has been employed with the Sheriff’s Office since March 2004.
Both Nelson and Heroux have been placed on paid administrative leave, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Bob Bromage said on Saturday.
This is the 39th officer-involved shooting reported in South Carolina this year, according to SLED spokesman Thom Berry. In 2015, 48 officer-involved shootings were reported. Information about officer-involved shootings in Beaufort County was not immediately available on Saturday.