Summerville police officer says man tried to kill him during arrest

Tyreece Raheam Stokes, 20, is accused of attacking a Summerville police officer on Saturday.

A Summerville police officer was hospitalized after a violent attack by a homeless man he was trying to arrest on Saturday, according to investigators.

Tyreece Raheam Stokes, 20, was charged with aggravated assault, stalking and trespass of real property after police said he choked and punched an officer.

At 9:45 p.m., Officer Dezmon Drayton responded to a home on Violet Drive where Stokes had returned in violation of a prior trespassing notice, according to an incident report.

As Drayton tried to escort Stokes off the property, Stokes pulled an 8-inch steak knife from his pocket, the report stated.

When Drayton and the female homeowner saw the weapon, they pushed Stokes against a parked car, according to the report.

The homeowner took the knife away from Stokes, the report stated.

Stokes hit Drayton in the throat with his hand and caused him to fall, the report stated. Stokes then punched Drayton in the head several times and began choking him, according to police.

“I believed Stokes was trying to kill me,” Drayton stated in the report. He also said he thought he was going to have to shoot Stokes to stop him from taking his life, the report stated.

Drayton said he was unable to breathe. “I was blacking out and about to give up,” he said in the report.

When Drayton heard police sirens it gave him the strength to continue fighting for his life, he told investigators.

Drayton said he didn’t shoot Stokes because he didn’t want to injure the homeowner, who was trying to help him by putting Stokes in a choke-hold, the report stated.

Witnesses told police Stokes tried to take Drayton’s gun, according to the report. Drayton was able to get Stokes off him and restrain him, according to the officer’s report. When other officers arrived, one of them shot Stokes with a stun gun, the report stated.

Drayton briefly lost consciousness twice after the other officers had arrived because of trouble breathing, he said in the report.

While speaking to the homeowner on scene, Drayton passed out and was taken to Summerville Medical Center and treated for possible throat and head injuries.

One witness told police that Stokes had a “death grip” on Drayton during the struggle, the report stated.

Stokes has been previously convicted of disorderly conduct, possession of marijuana and trespassing, according to court records.

He last served jail time in July for the trespassing conviction, court records show.

Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or