Drone Helps RCSD Capture Murder Suspect

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– We’re learning more about how an accused murderer was arrested Tuesday, after leading deputies on a chase through the woods. The Richland County Sheriff’s Department said they had help capturing an accused murderer Tuesday from a new perspective– they used a drone to help locate him.  

“We had our drone out there. That provided some information, and gave the aerial view to the deputies on the ground,” Cpt. Maria Yturria said, with RCSD.

“Our K9 units did a great job as far as tracking to the suspect. Once our K9 unit got up close to the suspect, we were able to see the suspect through the FLIR system,” Cpl. Marcus Kim said, with RCSD. 

That is the ‘Forward-Looking Infrared System.’ Corpl. Marcus Kim was one of the deputies asked to respond when Kenneth Dylan Shirley because he is trained in using the newest gadget.

“We use the drone to assist with our deputies on the ground with the perimeter. We use it to scan the area. The suspect was actually in a thick area of the woods. Our SWAT team is here on the left, the suspect is actually here in the center, he’s actually seen as a white hot-spot,” Kim said. 

Kim has been flying radio controlled helicopters since 1997. He is experienced, but there is lots of pressure in an active shooter situation. Kim said this technology can save lives.   

“It does keep us safer. We actually use it as another tool as we have on our duty belts, as we have with the SWAT team and the K9 units. It’s just another tool to help us and assist us in fighting crime,” Kim said. 

RCSD says they have used drones three times in the past week and now have four drones in the program.  

“We’re using this for  SWAT situations, where the SWAT team is called out or emergency situations. Possibly a missing person that we might need to help locate. So those type of situations. It’s not necessarily used and we do not use it to spy on people, as people are concerned with,” Kim said. Kim said they often get calls from other departments asking about starting up their own drone program.

Categories: Local News, News, Richland