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Off-duty officer kills suspect, police said

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Academy Sports is blocked off by crime scene tape after an off duty officer shot and killed a shoplifter on Jan. 2, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

An off-duty police officer shot and killed a 35-year-old shoplifting suspect during an altercation outside a Greenville sporting goods store Tuesday afternoon, the police department reported. 

Dispatchers received a call about 3:30 p.m. that an officer was involved in a shooting in the parking lot of Academy Sports, 3428 S. Memorial Drive, a Greenville Police Department news release said.

The altercation began after the officer was alerted by a civilian of a man shoplifting in the store, the release said. The officer confronted the alleged shoplifter, identified himself and displayed his credentials, the release said.

A struggle followed and the man attempted to attack the officer with a knife, the release said. The officer defended himself and shot the suspect, the release said. Greenville Fire-Rescue was called to the scene along with police.

“Life-saving efforts were attempted by Greenille Fire and Rescue but the individual died at the scene,” Police Chief Mark Holtzman said.  

Holtzman has requested the State Bureau of Investigation conduct the primary investigation into the shooting, per protocol. The department also will conduct a protocol-mandated internal investigation into the event. 

The identities of the officer and suspect were withheld on Tuesday afternoon. Holtzman described the officer as a department veteran with more than five years on the job.

“When an officer is off duty, they are still fully a police officer,” Holtzman said. “Especially in  this case where the officer is still within their jurisdiction. So they are still a full police officer and they have the ability to intervene if they do believe a crime has taken place. That’s where we’ll leave that tonight.”

Academy Sports is a big-box retailer located next to Hobby Lobby on property that use to be Carolina East Mall. Police had roped police tape around the parking area in front of Academy Sports and blocked two driveways that entered the property off Mall Drive. However, traffic and business continued uninterrupted in the parking area in front of Hobby Lobby.

The City of Greenville’s public information office released a statement about 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

"The incident that occurred today at Academy Sports is a tragedy for all involved. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the many people affected. The City of Greenville and the Greenville Police Department will fully cooperate with the State Bureau of Investigation as they conduct their investigation,” the statement said.

 

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