S.C. deputy killed after being shot in ambush, sheriff says
Deputy Austin Derek Aldridge, 25, was responding to a domestic violence call
Duty Death: Austin Derek Aldridge - [Spartanburg County, South Carolina]
End of Service: 06/21/2022
By Noah Feit
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — A sheriff’s deputy in South Carolina’s Upstate region was shot and killed in the line of duty Tuesday, officials said.
Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said Deputy Austin Derek Aldridge, 25, died at about 9:30 p.m., WYFF reported.
The three-year veteran of the sheriff’s office was ambushed, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said during a news conference.
“He was a really good young man,” Wright said, as he fought back his emotions. Aldridge was a Byrnes High School alum, and played on the football team, according to the school.
At about 3:20 p.m., Aldridge was responding to a domestic violence call, sheriff’s office spokesman Lt. Kevin Bobo said in a news release.
Aldrigde was shot as he approached a Chaffee Road residence, according to Bobo.
As neighbors provided other deputies with a description of the shooter and his vehicle, another deputy spotted the vehicle and attempted a traffic stop, Bobo said. The shooter was later identified as Duane Heard, WHNS reported.
Initially, Heard acted like he was going to surrender, but then he fired at that deputy, who returned fire, according to Bobo. Heard continued driving until he wrecked the vehicle near the Keurig Dr. Pepper plant, about 4 miles from where Aldridge was shot, and ran into the woods after shooting at other deputies, Bobo said.
Flags have been lowered and flowers have been placed at the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office for fallen deputy, Austin Alridge. Deputy Aldridge was shot and killed in the line of duty yesterday. https://t.co/5pNglrAFw2 pic.twitter.com/bdHLiqKGE0— WSPA 7NEWS (@WSPA7) June 22, 2022
A SWAT team and police dogs were called to the scene and found Heard in the woods where he was arrested, according to Bobo.
During one of the exchanges of gunfire with deputies, Heard was shot twice, and he was found on the ground near a rifle, Wright said.
No other deputies were hurt in the second and third shootouts with Heard, according to Bobo, and no other injuries were reported.
Heard was taken to an area hospital where he remained Tuesday night, Wright said. Further information on his condition was not available, but Wright said Heard is “going to make it.”
Bobo said the sheriff’s office asked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to investigate the shootings.
There was no word on the other people involved in the domestic incident.
“The City of Cayce sends our deepest condolences to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, their families, their community, and all affected by this senseless tragedy,” the Cayce Police Department said in a Facebook post.
Cayce police are still dealing with the aftermath of one of its officers being killed in the line of duty.
On April 24, Officer Drew Barr, 27, and other Cayce police officers responded to a 911 call about a domestic disturbance, and a man inside the house shot and killed Barr. The suspected gunman, 36-year-old Austin Henderson, killed himself after a seven-hour standoff with law enforcement, police said.
Barr had been with Cayce police for nearly six years. He previously worked as both an EMT and a firefighter in Lexington County.
“We know far to well what the days ahead will look like and pray that they find strength in each other and that they know that every law enforcement agency in the State will stand with them,” Cayce police said. “God bless the peacemakers and comfort our brothers and sisters in Spartanburg.”
In addition to Cayce police, multiple law enforcement agencies have publicly mourned Aldridge’s death.
©2022 The State. Visit thestate.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.