BEAUFORT -- The man shot dead in a gunfight with two Beaufort police officers along Southside Boulevard late May 27 was armed with a high- capacity handgun and was a suspect in an armed robbery and shooting three days earlier, authorities said Monday.
Anthony Bernard Bass, 24, was shot seven times during an exchange with officers Justin Mahan and Matthew Rausch, Police Chief Matt Clancy said.
Mahan and Rausch, identified for the first time Monday, remain on administrative leave as the State Law Enforcement Division investigates.
Mahan, 28, has been with the police department since May 2007, and Rausch, 38, joined the department in July 2008, Clancy said. Neither was injured in the incident.
"They seem to be doing as well as can be expected after somebody tries to kill you," Clancy said.
Bass fired a Cobray M-11 9 mm semi-automatic pistol with a 32-round capacity at Mahan and Rausch as they approached to question him about a vandalism complaint they were investigating in Spanish Trace Apartments, Clancy said.
The officers returned fire with their department-issued, .45-caliber pistols as they chased Bass down the street into a nearby yard. Officers lost sight of Bass in the Spanish Trace Apartments complex, where Bass changed shirts, attempting to alter his appearance, Clancy said.
Someone in the apartment complex pointed out Bass to police. Bass then began shooting again and ran behind a house on Southside Boulevard, where more shots were exchanged, according to police.
Bass was shot in the head, left chest, left shoulder, left wrist/forearm area, lower back and twice in the right thigh, Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Results of Bass' autopsy are not yet available, Allen said.
The SLED investigation should reveal the total number of rounds fired by Bass and the police, although those numbers were not available Monday, Clancy said. Bass' pistol had eight rounds in it when it was recovered, according to a news release issued Monday.
Bass' gun matched witness descriptions of a firearm used in another shooting three days earlier, Gruel said.
On May 24, Bass approached a 19-year-old man who was a guest at a residence on Twin Lakes Road, according to police. The man had just gotten into his car when Bass began speaking to him, shot him multiple times and stole about $55, Gruel said.
The victim was treated for four gunshot wounds and since has been released from the hospital, Gruel said. A child who also was in the car was unharmed, according to a news release.
Other details, including Bass' nickname, "Ant," his place of residence and known associates with criminal histories helped link him to the May 24 incident, Gruel said.
Bass served in the Marine Corps from October 2004 until March 2010 and last was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
Bass' death marks the first fatal shooting by Beaufort police officers since the late 1970s, Clancy said.