Gunfire erupted in a quiet Summerville subdivision early Friday when authorities said a police officer shot and injured two people whose car had just hit him as he investigated a report of vehicle break-ins.
Officials said the Summerville police officer and the two people involved all suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.
The scene unfolded before 3 a.m. at White Gables, a community off Central Avenue about 3 miles west of downtown Summerville.
An officer with the Summerville Police Department was called to the subdivision on a report of vehicle break-ins and suspicious people in the area, according to the State Law Enforcement Division, which is investigating the shooting that followed.
The officer spotted a car and got out of his cruiser. As he walked toward the vehicle, it accelerated and hit him, SLED spokesman Thom Berry said. He then fired at the car as it sped away, Berry said. Two men inside the vehicle were shot.
The car crashed nearby, and the men inside were taken into custody. The officer was treated at Summerville Medical Center.
Summerville police have not released the names of the officer or the suspects.
The 2015 Post and Courier analysis "Shots Fired" studied more than 200 cases and revealed that one in four police shootings involved officers firing into moving vehicles.
The state has since offered training for officers faced with the decision of whether to fire on a moving vehicle.
A few minutes before 2:30 a.m., the sound of gunfire startled Brenda Midgett and her husband awake at their home on White Gables Drive. Midgett said she fell back asleep after she looked out the window and didn’t see anything awry.
Later that morning, she saw a police cruiser parked next to her husband’s truck.
"When I saw the cops and I started looking at Facebook, I’m like, 'Oh my gosh,'" Midgett said.
Word of the shooting traveled fast among residents on a White Gables Facebook group. Midgett, who has lived in the neighborhood since 2004, said she hears about occasional break-ins to cars but "nothing like this, ever."
Residents on Friday characterized the neighborhood as typically peaceful. Some said the fact that several officers live in the subdivision made them feel safe.
Heather Morton moved into a rental home on White Gables Drive several weeks ago after relocating from North Carolina. She and her husband picked the neighborhood after driving through and seeing young couples and families.
"It gives you a sense of security and safety," Morton said.
She learned Friday of recent issues with people breaking into cars and said she will take more precautions such as taking valuables inside and locking her doors.
Berry said there is video footage of the shooting. It was not immediately clear whether that video was captured on dash camera, the officer's body-worn camera, or both.
Friday's incident was the 21st officer-involved shooting this year in South Carolina and the first in 2018 involving a Summerville police officer, according to SLED.