Dorchester deputies cleared in officer-involved shooting

Three Dorchester County sheriff’s deputies who opened fire in early August on a Ridgeville man wielding a gun after a pursuit have been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

Sgt. Shawn Angelo, Deputy Matthew Carter and Deputy David Hunt each fired their handguns early Aug. 8, fatally wounding Shamir Palmer, 24. Authorities have said he had been firing at officers during a pursuit before pointing a weapon at the deputies who shot him.

Three other deputies, Sgt. Keith Hunt, Deputy Daniel Tuck and Deputy Matthew Carter, were also involved in the incident and cleared of any criminal wrongdoing. First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe made the announcement in a letter to the State Law Enforcement Division dated Wednesday.

“This incident underscores the incredibly dangerous job our law enforcement officers are tasked with daily,” Pascoe wrote in the letter. “All of the evidence suggests that the officers involved acted from a good faith and reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary to protect themselves, their fellow officers, and other citizens in the area from a significant risk of death or serious bodily injury caused by Mr. Palmer.”

In-car video and evidence found at the scene, including a shell casing in Palmer’s Chevrolet Tahoe, corroborates S.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Travis Clemens’ report that Palmer fired at him during an early morning chase, according to Pascoe.

He said there also “can be no doubt” about several aspects of the deputies’ reports.

Palmer, a felon who had been freed from prison in May, had alcohol and cocaine in his system at the time of the chase “which may have impaired his judgment,” Pascoe said. He added that Palmer had an extensive and violent criminal history, including convictions of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and possession of a stolen pistol.

The coroner, Chris Nisbet, called the death a suicide because Palmer had created the conditions leading to his death, although any killing of another person is defined as a homicide.

Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.