Charleston police officer who was under investigation committed to psychiatric hospital

The Charleston police officer who scuffled with a woman who said he broke a toy gun her son found at a park Sunday afternoon was committed to a psychiatric hospital Tuesday after a standoff with Summerville police.

John Chittwood’s wife called Summerville police to their Wilson Drive home in Corey Poin about 10:20 a.m. saying he was throwing things in the house. She ran with their two small children to a neighbor’s house after he came into a bedroom with a gun in his hand, according to the incident report.

Police surrounded the house, and an officer used the loudspeaker on his patrol car to try to call out Chittwood. He surrendered after about an hour and a half.

The report noted that he was wearing a skateboarding helmet with an attachment on the side, blue shorts and cowboy boots. He was wearing his Charleston police uniform shirt with his name pin under another shirt.

Officers searched his pockets for weapons and found a cellphone, several pieces of broken candy corn, several financial transaction cards, nails, a stethoscope, phone chargers, papers, a blade like an X-Acto knife and other items, according to the report.

After medical personnel checked Chittwood, a probate judge signed a commitment order and he was taken to Palmetto Behavioral Psychiatric Hospital.

Inside the house, officers found broken picture frames and glass on the floor, the rear door barricaded with firewood and a liquid that appeared to be amoxicillin smeared above another rear door and on the floor of a door to the dining room, according to the report.

Chittwood, 27, had been put on administrative leave without pay after officers found him sitting on the boy’s 26-year-old mother at Brittlebank Park Sunday. He was not on duty at the time.

Chittwood has been with the Charleston Police Department since January 2013. He came to Charleston after spending about a year with the police department in Newport News, Va., according to the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy. His record does not include any complaints.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.