S.C. officer shot and killed
Officer Down: Officer Lonnie Wells - [Moncks Corner, South Carolina]
Incident Details: Officer Wells was shot and killed after he and another officer responded to a domestic disturbance call. The suspect fled the scene in one of the patrol cars but was shot and killed a short time later by a deputy from the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office.
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: March 25, 2007
S.C. officer killed, another injured
The Associated Press
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. --A police officer was in critical condition early Monday after being shot in the head during a shootout that killed another officer a day earlier. The suspect also died.
Officer Marcus Stiles, 26, was in critical condition at Trident Medical Center in North Charleston, spokeswoman Nicole DeMarco said Monday.
He and officer Lonnie Wells responded Sunday to the address on the registration of a truck belonging to a couple seen arguing at a laundry, according to the coroner's office and witnesses interviewed by The (Charleston) Post and Courier.
Clara Welch, 69, and her family were cooking outside near the suspect's home when they heard as many as a dozen gunshots. "All I know is it was loud, like someone blew up," Welch said.
Wells, 40, was found dead near a patrol car.
Moments after the shots were fired, the suspect stole a police cruiser and sped toward a highway roadblock. Witnesses said more shots rang out. "They were waiting on him," said James Worsham, who head the gunfire as he worked in his yard.
Worsham said he saw the cruiser crash through a school fence and stop in a field. Officers had their guns drawn, but Worsham said the man in the cruiser was not moving.
The suspect's name was not released.
Chief Deputy Coroner Bill Salisbury said it was unclear Sunday whether police killed the suspect or whether he shot himself. Salisbury said he was grieving for the officers.
"When you have a police officer shot, they all come together," Salisbury said. "They are devastated. They lost a fellow officer and a friend."
A native of Quincy, Fla., Wells worked as a school resource officer in Berkeley County. "You wouldn't work with a finer individual," said Susan Gehlmann, principal at Berkeley Middle School. "He loved those students."
Gehlmann said she asked for extra guidance help this week because she knows students will struggle with news of his death. "It's going to be hard on the students," she said. "It's going to take a long time to get over this."
Moncks Corner is about 32 miles north of Charleston.