Family of wounded Berkeley deputy appreciates support

BERKELEY COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE/PROVIDED Sheriff Duane Lewis (left) shakes Cpl. Kimber Gist’s hand last month. Gist was shot and wounded early Friday during a struggle with a suspect.

The family of a Berkeley County sheriff’s deputy who was shot last week thanked the community and law enforcement Monday for an outpouring of support.

Cpl. Kimber Gist was injured in an exchange of gunfire early Friday after checking on a suspicious car behind a Red Bank Road shopping center in Goose Creek. The man deputies alleged shot her, 36-year-old Travis Smith of Bexley Street, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head around 6:30 a.m. after a five-hour standoff with police at his North Charleston home.

Gist remains in the hospital. Her condition is unknown.

“Although the last couple of days have been trying to see a loved one in pain due to a senseless crime, we have been incredibly blessed with the outpouring of love and support for the entire family,” the statement from Gist’s family reads. “It is nothing short of a miracle that our loved one was placed here in Berkeley County, a place where everyone is a family.”

The statement, which thanked law enforcement agencies throughout the country, was posted on the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. The family said they have been blessed with everything they need, from food to lodging, and that they were thankful that a “good Samaritan” stopped to help Gist.

The Sheriff’s Office released an incident report in reference to the traffic stop that led to Gist’s shooting, but it says little more than has already been released. It states that the suspicious vehicle Gist stopped to check on around 12:25 a.m. was displaying a paper tag and was occupied by two individuals.

At 12:38 a.m., Gist advised via radio she was in a fight, the report states. Deputy Jason Potteiger responded about a minute later and found Gist injured on Harbour Lake Drive near Pine Shadow Drive.

No information about the second person in the suspicious vehicle has been released or how many times or where Gist was shot.

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the officer-involved shooting. SLED spokesman Thom Berry said Monday there was no new information to release. “We’re still in the process of gathering information,” he added.

Reach Melissa Boughton at 843-937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.