Family of man killed in officer-involved shooting questioning response of deputies
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — This weekend, a Richland County deputy shot and killed a man during a 911 call at a home in north Columbia.
Wednesday, the man’s family is speaking out and questions the officer’s actions during the incident.
“The officer was very aware of my son’s condition. They had been to the home,” said Connie Craig, mother of 34-year-old Irvin Moorer Charley.
In addressing the media over the weekend shortly after the incident, Sheriff Leon Lott talked about the nature of the call the department received.
“We did not receive a mental health call,” the Richland County sheriff said. “We received a 911 call about a domestic situation involving someone with a knife.”
When deputies arrived, they say Charley was holding a sharp wooden object and walking towards officers. Deputies say Charley was given multiple verbal commands to drop the weapon but he continued to move forward. Officers say they then attempted to stun him with a taser.
“He was just holding it by his side while walking. Why even tase him in the first place? He was only walking,” said Shaquana Cuttino, attorney.
Deputies say Charley charged them after they attempted to tase him. He was then shot by one of the officers.
“We don’t need to lose anybody else to something like this but we have to protect our community,” Lott said. “We also have to protect our deputies.”
Charley’s mother who was present remembers the incident.
“Only thing I could hear was them saying ‘Get back!’ I tried to tell them that I’ve been dealing with him for a long time and I probably could have gotten him to stop,” Craig said. “They said ‘Get back’. I begged them. I begged them not to do that to him. I couldn’t do any more and I dropped to the ground but my son didn’t deserve this. He did not deserve this.”
The family’s attorney is calling for an independent investigation of the incident.
“Once again, we are just calling for transparency and for actions to be taken not only in South Carolina but across the country to address these tragic and preventable mental health deaths,” said attorney Brendan Green.
The sheriff’s department investigates officer-involved shootings but the solicitor’s office ultimately decides if the officer’s actions were justified.
“We feel for the family but this is not something we created,” Lott said.
“Only thing I want is justice today,” Craig concluded at Wednesday’s press conference.