Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright wants it known that last week’s press conference condemning South Carolina’s justice system was not just frustration– he’s serious.
A little more than 12 hours after Spartanburg County Deputy Brad James was shot and injured while trying to make a traffic stop, Wright reiterated his point a second time.
“I know the last time I was before y’all, I made a statement that flew me all the way to New York so I could make some comments,” Wright said, “So I’ll say it again: ‘Good citizens of this county: Arm yourselves, get a concealed weapons permit carry, and protect yourself.'”
Virginia deputies eventually tracked down the suspect– Robert Brown, 27,– arresting him and two other people in a second shootout Monday morning. Brown had been charged with nine different crimes prior to Sunday night, including convictions of assault with intent to kill and a youth offender conviction for criminal domestic violence.
“We got a guy that we’ve had in our custody with just resisting arrest and assault with intent to kill and burglary second (degree). He should’ve been kept in jail,” Wright told reporters, “We should not have been dealing with him, but yet again our justice system has been a failure and I think the justice system owes Brad James’s family and Brad James himself a huge apology.”
James was chasing Brown’s car late Sunday night. After Brown crashed, he took off on foot as the deputy pursued. Wright said once Brown reached a fence, he turned and fired, hitting James in the eye. The Sheriffs Office said Brown then shot James again while he was lying on the ground, hitting him in the hip.
“(James) continued on after being shot another 150, 200 yards trying to apprehend the suspect,” Wright said, “Now, I don’t care what definition you want to tag on to him, that’s a hero to me. He was doing what he was paid to do and he was doing what he knew needed to be done.”
Officials say James is expected to recover, but has lost the sight in his eye. The incident happened on Kimbery Drive near the Spartanburg Downtown Airport.
Deputies say Brown then borrowed a second car shortly after the shooting before eventually getting a ride with Shiquan Freeman, 18, and Crystal Lovett, 25, in a third vehicle.
Spartanburg officials put out a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) for that car. A Virginia State Police officer spotted it and briefly chased it Monday morning, eventually ramming the vehicle to get it to stop. Virginia officers said Freeman and Lovett quickly surrendered, but Brown fired back again. This time, the officers shot Brown twice during the firefight.
Brown is currently in a Roanoke hospital. His condition is not known. He faces charges for attempted murder, burglary, armed robbery, resisting arrest, and failure to stop for a blue light.
Freeman and Lovett are currently being held at a Virginia detention facility. They are facing charges of accessory after the fact to a felony.
Wright said the investigation is still continuing and he added more arrests are expected in the case.