Aiken Police Officer Killed Other Officer Saved By Body Armor

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One Aiken Public Safety policeman was killed and another wounded during a shootout late Tuesday. In a statement released this morning, officers said Master Public Safety Officer Scotty Richardson, 33, had died from his wounds.

The second officer, Public Safety Officer Travis Griffin, 28, was treated and released after a bullet-proof vest prevented serious injury, police said.

Lt. David Turno said the shootings happened at 8:58 p.m. at Pace’s Run Apartments at Brandt Court and Camellia Street in Aiken.

The suspect, also taken to MCG, suffered a gunshot to the buttock, Lisa Hintz, assistant director for Aiken Rescue Inc. said.

The exchange of gunfire, totaling about 12 shots, was heard from the Aiken Rescue headquarters on Kershaw Street in downtown Aiken, Hintz said.

Turno said two other people are being questioned in the shooting, but he wouldn’t elaborate.

The South Carolina Law En­force­ment Division has been brought in to help, which Turno said is standard procedure for all officer shootings.

Turno also said the South Carolina Highway Patrol, North Augusta Public Safety Department and Aiken County Sheriff’s Office were answering calls for his department Tuesday night and this morning.

“They’ve taken over for the city tonight so we can take care of our own people,” Turno said.

Around 12:30 a.m., two Aiken Public Safety patrol cars arrived at the MCG emergency room entrance. Uniformed officers exited the cars and walked side-by-side up a ramp entering the hospital.

A few other law enforcement officers, some from Richmond County, who had been gathered outside the hospital for several hours, also entered. By 1 a.m., the scene in front of the emergency room entrance was quiet, but several Aiken and Richmond County patrol cars were still parked nearby. Ten minutes later, two more cars with Aiken Public Safety officers arrived.

With Tuesday’s shootings, three Augusta-area law enforcement officers have been shot in the past two months.

Richmond County sheriff’s Deputy James Paugh was fatally shot Oct. 23 when he got into a gun battle with Army Spc. Christopher Michael Hodges on Bobby Jones Express­way. Paugh, 47, was riding his traffic enforcement motorcycle home from a special detail when he noticed a car parked off the road and decided to investigate. Witnesses said Hodges had

fired rounds from a rifle at passing cars. Paugh was killed but still wounded Hodges, who later killed himself.