Strings used to trace bullets

Charleston County sheriff's deputy Paul McManigal, the department's forensic services supervisor, uses a series of strings to detail the trajectories of shots a deputy fired at a car Tuesday, when the driver of the car allegedly tried to run the deputy over.

Colorful strings stretched between a small red sedan and a garage wall trace the paths of shots fired by a deputy reportedly defending himself from a motorist trying to run him over.

The string alignments projecting from the car in an evidence compound at the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office will help investigators determine exactly what happened at about 2 p.m. Monday in a chiropractic office parking lot beside Ashley River Road.

Sheriff Al Cannon said Deputy Shawn James opened fire when the rental car James had pulled over for a traffic violation suddenly charged at him. He said James fired 11 shots from his .40-caliber Glock as the car neared him, then passed close to him after he had jumped out of the way.

Two of the shots wounded 21-year-old Terrance Green of Charleston, Cannon said.

Green was arrested about 15 minutes after the gunfire, trying to exchange his bloodied clothes at a clothesline in the Ardmore subdivision, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Green is hospitalized, and the Sheriff’s Office plans to charge him with attempted murder, reckless driving and third- offense driving under the influence.

James remains on paid administrative leave.

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the shooting. Cannon said SLED agents were shown the car and string display Wednesday morning.

The shooting apparently does not sit well with at least one local elected official. At a Tuesday night rally for slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin, Charleston County Councilwoman Colleen Condon followed a series of speakers calling for for an end to racial profiling.

Some speakers said Martin was shot because he was black, and Condon remarked that just this week, a local deputy had shot “someone who was pulled over for a traffic violation.”

Cannon said vehicles can and have been used nationwide as deadly weapons against police. While showing the car and the strings to reporters, he pointed and said James defended himself “from that weapon right there.”

The strings were positioned by Sheriff’s Office Forensics Services Supervisor Paul McManigal, who said the trajectories were ascertained by lining up obvious bullet entry and exit points. In some cases, James’ shots were deflected by glass or metal, and in a few cases, such as the shots that took out entire side windows, there were no visible entry points to work with, he said.

“As long as we have two points to look at, we can estimate what the trajectory was. This one was actually fairly easy because there were so many points to work with,” McManigal said.

Cannon said that contrary to earlier reports, no shots were fired while the car was in reverse. He said the car was put in reverse at first — when it suddenly departed the spot Green had stopped in when pulled over — then turned around and headed toward James.

“As (Green) was leaving, the deputy was in front of him and began firing,” Cannon said. He said James’ Glock was holding 16 bullets at the time of the incident, and all of James’ 11 shots hit the car.

He said James’ first two shots struck the vehicle’s front windshield, “and the deputy jumped out of the way” and continued firing at short range as the car zipped by.

“He’s fortunate that he wasn’t hit by that vehicle,” he added.

Other deputies and Charleston police responded and located first the abandoned sedan, then found Green by using tracking dogs, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Reach Edward C. Fennell at 937-5560.