Hundreds attend slain Aiken police officer's funeral

Scotty Richardson

AIKEN -- Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday to mourn an Aiken police officer shot and killed during a traffic stop.

Law officers from across South Carolina attended a funeral for Officer Scotty Richardson, 33, at the University of South Carolina Aiken Convocation Center.

Richardson died in the early hours of Dec. 21 after being shot in the head during a traffic stop at an apartment complex the night before.

State troopers rushed Richardson's wife from their Lexington County home to be with him in the hospital before he died, authorities said. Richardson had three sons.

A second officer was not seriously injured when his bullet-proof vest stopped a shot to his chest, authorities said. Police have charged 19-year-old Stephon Carter with murder and attempted murder. Carter is in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound.

People lined the streets of Aiken on Tuesday as Richardson's funeral procession passed. Aiken Public Safety Cpl. Sonny Ford, who served as a school resource officer when Richardson attended South Aiken High School, remembered the student who expressed an interest in public safety.

"We talked about law enforcement and about him one day becoming a law enforcement officer," Ford told The Augusta Chronicle on Tuesday as he stood alongside his horse, Doc, in downtown Aiken. "He was one of the good ones."

A candlelight vigil in Richardson's honor was held Monday night on the front lawn of the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

Richardson was the fourth Aiken Public Safety officer to die in the line of duty. The last death came in 1978 when an officer was killed fighting a fire.