Coroner identifies man who died after running from Lexington County Deputies

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– The Lexington County Coroner has released the identity of a man, who Deputies say, died after running from them on Wednesday.   According to Coroner Margaret Fisher, the man went unresponsive after he was apprehended by Lexington County Deputies during a warrant service on August 09, 2023 shortly after 1:30 P.M. in Lexington County.
Coroner Fisher says 32 year old Mr. Bernice Junior Smith, III, 32, of Aiken, S.C. went unresponsive and was transported by Lexington County Emergency Medical Services to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
Fisher says an autopsy is scheduled for Friday at the Medical University of Charleston.
SLED is also investigating this incident.


Lexington Deputies say the man was wanted on a outstanding warrant for shoplifting. Wednesday, authorities say the man was spotted at a store in the Red Bank area of the county by a Lexington deputy.

Officials say when the deputy recognized the man he approached him and began talking to him about the warrant, when deputies say he ran into the woods. According to deputies, the man was tased after being located in order to subdue him after he refused to follow their verbal commands.

Deputies say they handcuffed the suspect and began walking him back to a patrol car when he started to display signs of medical distress. Deputies say they removed handcuffs and rendered aid until paramedics arrived to take him to the hospital where he later died.

Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon released a statement in regards to the incident saying,

“Work is already underway to confirm what happened in this situation and what caused the man’s death,”… “In addition to our own internal review, I’ve asked the State Law Enforcement Division to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation.”

As is the normal Department protocol in cases of this nature, three of the deputies have been placed on paid administrative leave as the investigation into the death continues.

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