Authorities: Berkeley sheriff’s deputy who was shot recuperating, ‘spirits are good’

Sheriff Duane Lewis (left) shakes Cpl. Kimber Gist’s hand last month. Gist was shot and wounded early Friday morning during a fight with a suspect.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office released on Tuesday a 911 call and other recordings that shed more light on the shooting that wounded a deputy last week.

“I’ve got an officer here. She was shot — officer 144,” a concerned citizen told a 911 dispatcher of Cpl. Kimber Gist.

Gist was wounded around 12:30 a.m. Friday in an exchange of gunfire after checking on a suspicious vehicle behind a shopping center on Red Bank Road near Harbour Lake Drive, authorities have said.

She remained hospitalized Tuesday, Deputy Chief Mike Cochran said. She had been shot at least three times, he said.

“She’s doing great,” he said. “Her spirits are good.”

When Gist went behind the Food Lion store on Red Bank Road, something about a green Ford Expedition with chrome rims caught her eye. Authorities haven’t said what that was, and recordings of her dispatch radio communications don’t make that clear either.

She announced into her radio that one person was in the SUV, but she soon corrected herself. “It’s two,” she said. “Not one.”

Officials have said that Gist managed to get one person in custody. Portions of the dispatch recordings are difficult to decipher, but authorities said she soon radioed that she was in a fight. She used a code to let dispatchers know.

“10-10,” she said, according to Cochran, who listened to the recording.

Dispatchers and deputies were unsure at the time about her predicament. The dispatchers tried to raise her, but they got no response.

“Did she say 10-10?” a deputy said.

“That’s what I thought,” a dispatcher said.

Other patrol deputies were already heading toward Gist’s location. Before long, they found her car.

“Send me a medic. Send me a medic,” a deputy said. “We got one down.”

For an unknown reason, Cochran said, Gist had not been able to call for help by herself.

But the woman who came to her aid shortly after the shooting said during the 911 call that the deputy appeared “OK” after being shot in the left leg. Sirens are heard in the background of the recording.

“I think they’re going after the person who shot her,” the caller said, “but I don’t see an ambulance yet.”

Gist was lying on the ground with a few people around her, the caller said, and an officer who arrived at the scene examined her while waiting for paramedics.

“He’s saying that she’s alert and conscious,” the caller said.

By then, backup deputies also had the name of Gist’s suspected attacker: 36-year-old Travis Smith. Other deputies set out in search of the Ford, and North Charleston police officers soon came across it at Smith’s house on Bexley Street. They said Smith shot himself inside the home, and his body was found around 6:30 a.m. Friday.

The other person who was with Smith prior to the gunfire was questioned and released.

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating Gist’s shooting. Aside from the leg injury, she suffered at least two other bullet wounds, Cochran said, declining to go into further details until SLED gets a statement from the deputy.

“There’s no doubt in my mind,” Cochran said, “that the gentleman was trying to hurt her.”

Reach Christina Elmore at 843-937-5908. Reach Andrew Knapp at 843-937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.