A traffic stop Dec. 9, which ended in a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputy being dragged by a car and the shooting of the driver of that vehicle, began with an “unlawful lane change,” according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.
At about 5:45 p.m. that evening, Sgt. Raymond Heroux “observed a vehicle driven by a male subject, later identified as 21-year-old Akeem Jenkins, perform unlawful lane changes,” the release, sent to media outlets Thursday evening, said.
Heroux then “maneuvered behind the vehicle and activated his blue lights to conduct a traffic stop. The vehicle pulled into the Tanger 2 shopping center (in greater Bluffton) and stopped in the parking lot of the Nike outlet store,” according to the release.
What happened next remains under investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
What is known as of Thursday evening is that at some point after being pulled over, Jenkins put his car in reverse and accelerated, trapping Heroux in the open driver’s side door and dragging him through the parking lot. It was then that Heroux drew his pistol and fired at Jenkins, according to previous news releases from the Sheriff’s Office.
The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette have requested more detailed information about the stop and what transpired after. Sheriff’s Office officials have so far declined to provide that information.
However, SLED spokesman Thom Berry has said his agency has no objection to the local department releasing specific details related to the traffic stop and the events that unfolded afterward.
The Sheriff’s Office of Professional Responsibility “is conducting an independent review of policies and procedures as they relate to this incident,” according to Thursday evening’s news release. “Releasing details at this time on the suspicious activity of (Jenkins) and events leading up to the officer-involved shooting could impact the credibility of witnesses and impede the active SLED investigation (or the Office of Professional Responsibility’s) review of policies and procedures.”
As a result of the shooting, Jenkins was injured and flown to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah after EMS found at least 10 grams of cocaine on his person — enough to charge him with a felony, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
He will be charged and extradited to Beaufort County upon his release. Heroux was treated for injuries and released from the hospital the same day.
In Thursday’s news release, Sheriff P.J. Tanner thanked county residents “for their continued patience during this investigation.”