Charleston officer kept gun on suspect after suffering gunshot wounds, police reports say
Officer Cory Goldstein was gaining ground on the suspect Saturday night in West Ashley when the man turned and shot at him.
The man apparently fired his Glock until it was empty, according to police reports released Tuesday.
A bullet broke Goldstein’s left pinky finger. One buried into his right thigh. Another grazed his bicep. His protective vest stopped a fourth from plunging into his chest near his heart.
But the 23-year-old officer didn’t fall. He managed to pull his own pistol and fire. He hit his assailant at least twice, and the man fell.
Despite his wounds, Goldstein trained his gun on the downed man as backup officers arrived and later handcuffed him.
As others tended to his wounds and prayed, the lawman asked about the motorist he had been chasing after what had begun as an attempted traffic stop.
“Is that guy dead?” he said.
Police supplemental reports depict the harrowing situation that Goldstein found himself in amid a wooded area behind the Comfort Suites at Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and Savannah Highway. Surgeons later operated on Goldstein, a Charleston Police Department officer since January 2012. He left a hospital Tuesday.
When the ordeal ended, 26-year-old Mark L. Blake Jr., who has gone to jail in the past on drugs and weapons charges, was under arrest.
The resident of Jobee Drive in West Ashley has tattoos of bullets around his wrist and two pistols forming a cross inked into his right arm. Actual bullets hit his other arm and his right leg.
Blake faces a count of failing to stop for blue lights, according to the reports. Charleston County’s jail also lists cocaine and firearms charges.
The State Law Enforcement Division, which is examining the case to determine what other charges Blake might face, released the additional reports. The Post and Courier had requested the documents and other records from police under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act.
At 10:38 p.m. Saturday, Goldstein first radioed dispatchers that he was trying to stop a red Hyundai rental car on Savannah Highway and Dupont Road. He didn’t say why.
The sedan wouldn’t pull over, he said, according to a copy of his communications obtained through a FOIA request.
When the car entered the ramp to eastbound Interstate 526, it crashed into a guardrail. A front tire blew. Its driver couldn’t get the car moving again, so he got out, hopped over the guardrail and ran southward toward the Comfort Suites.
Goldstein was close behind.
At the Motel 6 near the interstate ramp, three police officers were on an off-duty job investigating loud partying. They heard screeching tires and the wreck.
They followed Goldstein in the foot chase. When Goldstein was 75 yards in front of them, he rounded a corner behind the Comfort Suites and disappeared.
A hotel guest smoking a cigarette on a back patio saw what happened next. Goldstein was catching up to the fleeing man, the guest said, as the officer yelled for him to stop.
The man whipped his body around. Gunshots rang out. Flashes from the gun flickered.
“Shots fired! Shots fired! Shots fired!” Goldstein said through the radio attached to his uniform, not yet indicating that he had been hit.
People heard two groupings of gunshots, one from the suspect’s gun, then another from the officer’s. About 10, maybe a dozen shots were fired.
One bullet put a hole in the windshield of an empty car nearby.
Another landed near the patio where the cigarette smoker had been standing. He dived through the patio doorway and slammed the door.
Sirens wailed as dozens of officers heard Goldstein’s call for help.
“Officer wounded,” one said. “Officer down.”
‘He’s over there’
Guests at the Comfort Suites heard the gunfire, looked through their windows and saw the situation end.
‘He’s over there’
A detective on his way to an off-duty job had listened on his radio to Goldstein’s attempt to stop the Hyundai. He was close to the officer, so he came to help.
When the detective pulled his unmarked cruiser onto Sam Rittenberg Boulevard, he saw Goldstein standing in the road. Shell casings speckled the pavement.
Goldstein staggered, saying he had been hit. But he “was still covering the wood line with his firearm,” the detective wrote in his report.
“He’s over there,” Goldstein told him.
The detective told Goldstein to take shelter. He collapsed outside the unmarked car.
Under tall pine trees, the man lay between two bushes about 15 yards away. The detective shone a light on him. The other off-duty officers trailing Goldstein scaled the fence and found Blake.
He was face down. He wasn’t talking or moving. One of his legs seemed broken.
A Glock pistol rested 4 feet away. Its slide was locked back, indicating that the handgun was empty.
Other officers arrived clutching rifles.
They found Goldstein bleeding on the pavement. They held his head and encouraged him.
Bullets fractured bones in the officer’s left pinky finger, his right leg and an arm. The graze wound cut his bicep and his side. His co-workers feared that a round had severed his femoral artery, so they tightened a tourniquet on his leg.
But the officer wanted to know what had happened to the man he had been chasing.
“Goldstein was alert and asking me if the suspect was down,” an officer wrote in a report. “I reassured him that the suspect was indeed down and was detained.”
Paramedics took Goldstein to a hospital as police cruisers escorted their ambulance.
Goldstein left his doctors’ care Tuesday and was recovering.
Blake won’t face the charges against him until he is “medically stabilized,” sheriff’s Maj. Jim Brady said.
He remained in a hospital Tuesday.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.