Friends and family say a man shot and killed by deputies at a Lancaster County store on Thursday was a Baptist pastor who was likely distraught over his wife leaving him.
The county coroner’s office has identified the man as 60-year-old Darrell Morgan, who was pastor at the New Harvest Free Will Baptist Church in Tradesville. The coroner’s office said Morgan died from his injuries at a nearby hospital. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.
Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile said deputies responded to the Carolina Corner appliance store about five miles north of Lancaster after a clerk there called 911 to report a man with a gun arguing with a woman inside. The woman was Morgan’s estranged wife, according to a State Law Enforcement Division spokesman.
Faile said Morgan was behaving in a threatening manner and the deputies believed he had started to point his handgun at them when they opened fire.
“When the officers went to the building, they were confronted by an armed person inside the building who clearly posed a threat to the officers and other civilians inside the business,” Faile told reporters in a brief press conference outside the store. “Shots were fired to eliminate the threat. All the policies seem to have been followed at this time.” No one else was hurt in the incident, he said.
The two deputies involved are on paid leave while state police investigate — as is typical for officer-involved shootings in South Carolina. SLED spokesman Thom Berry said there is no dashcam footage of the incident, which occurred inside the store.
“There is an autopsy being done today on the body of Darrell Morgan that will be done in Newberry by a pathologist,” SLED spokesman Thom Berry told coverage partner WRHI in Rock Hill. “We are also in the process of collecting information and evidence and we will be conducting interviews.”
WSOC-TV in Charlotte quoted a family member as saying Morgan’s son was on the phone with his father when the deputies opened fire. But South Carolina Radio Network is not able to independently confirm whether Morgan was using his phone at the time.
The incident was the 22nd officer-involved shooting in South Carolina this year, according to SLED. There were 42 officer-involved shooting incidents statewide last year.