EUTAWVILLE -- Federal authorities have become involved in the investigation of a May 2 shooting that left a father of two dead, reportedly at the hands of the town's police chief.
First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe confirmed Friday that the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI are involved in the probe of 54-year-old Bernard Bailey's fatal shooting. He said the FBI is working with State Law Enforcement Division investigators on the case.
Pascoe said he is pleased to see this cooperation and the availability of additional resources early on in the investigation. He declined to say more about those efforts.
FBI spokeswoman Denise M. Taiste said the agency had no comment on its role in the probe. Officials from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Columbia were said to be away from the office Friday and unavailable for comment.
SLED spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons did not respond to a request for comment on the case.
Bailey, a former correctional officer, was shot three times in the parking lot of Town Hall, reportedly by Police Chief Ricky Combs. Authorities have said next to nothing about how the shooting transpired or what prompted the decision to use deadly force.
Combs is now on paid leave, Orangeburg County sheriff's deputies are patrolling the town and town officials are refusing to discuss the incident. Bailey's friends have said the shooting apparently stemmed from a dispute over a traffic ticket issued to one of Bailey's daughters. Somehow during his visit to Town Hall, Bailey was shot twice in the chest and once in the shoulder.
Some have said the incident -- involving a white police officer and a black man -- conjures images of the Old South. But church pastors and civil rights leaders have urged people not to jump to conclusions but let investigators do their job so the truth can be revealed.
State NAACP President Lonnie Randolph said Friday he welcomes the involvement of federal authorities though he has every confidence SLED will conduct a fair and thorough investigation.
"I am confident in the system and that it will work as it is supposed to work to ensure justice," he said.