Investigators say a Hardeeville man who was killed after he shot and injured two law enforcement officers had a previous criminal history. The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office said 26-year-old Jose Trejo has prior domestic violence and unlawful weapons charges on his record before he fired on a deputy and a Hardeeville police officer responding to a domestic disturbance call at his home Thursday evening.
Trejo died in the incident, according to the county coroner’s office. The State Law Enforcement Division has since taken over the investigation, as it does for most police shootings in South Carolina.
Jasper County Sheriff Chris Malphrus released more details of the shooting Friday, saying Trejo had launched an “ambush-style attack” on Deputy Justin Smith and Police Sgt. Kelvin Grant arrived at the home with two other Hardeeville officers. Both men were shot before officers returned fire, killing Trejo.
Grant and Smith were initially considered to be in “critical condition” at a Savannah, Ga., hospital, Malphrus said Thursday. However, on Friday both were considered stable and are expected to survive.
Malphrus said Trejo had threatened his mother before officers arrived, even firing the gun near her head at one point. The sheriff said the woman was treated for powder burns on the side of her face after the incident.
A State Law Enforcement Division announcement said there is police body camera footage of the incident, but the agency is not releasing it at this time. A SLED spokesman said dashboard cameras also recorded the scene but did not capture the shooting.
Grant has been with the Hardeeville Police Department for more than six years, while Smith has been with the sheriff’s department for two years.