South Carolina state police are investigating after a North Charleston officer shot and fatally injured an armed robbery suspect Sunday night. Meanwhile, the suspect’s family are calling for any footage of the incident to be made public.
The State Law Enforcement Division said Monday it is investigating the shooting. The agency said it is not yet sure if dashboard camera footage exists.
In a press conference organized by the National Action Network, relatives identified the man as Lawrence Heyward, Jr,.
An incident report, the officer involved said he watched a man walk into the store with a hooded sweatshirt pulled over his head. After the man left, the officer said he asked dispatch about the store and dispatch responded that an employee had just reported a robbery. Surveillance footage released Monday showed an armed man grab the store’s cashier and forcibly take cash from her hand before leaving in a car.
The officer tracked the suspect’s car and lost him in a chase, but found the car again in a neighborhood less than a mile from the store. Moments later, Heyward was shot after getting out of the vehicle to flee. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died from his injuries. The SLED release does not mention Heyward ever firing any weapon.
Sunday’s shooting occurred along a neighborhood road less than mile from the convenience store.
The shooting is getting heightened attention more than two years after Walter Scott was shot and killed by a then-North Charleston officer Michael Slager. Slager pleaded guilty to use of excessive force earlier this year. The charge came after a bystander’s cell phone video showed Slager shooting at the unarmed Scott’s back as he tried to run through a vacant lot following a struggle.
According to court records, Heyward had only last year ended a 13-year sentence for armed robbery and possession of a firearm during a violent crime.