South Congaree, SC – A South Congaree police officer disarmed a man who was brandishing a handgun near several businesses over the weekend defusing what could have been a deadly situation. That man is being held at the Lexington County Detention Center pending a trial.
According to South Congaree Police Chief Josh Shumpert, 39-year-old Charles Hale went on a rampage after being involved in a domestic dispute near the home where he was staying on Ramblin Road just off Main Street.
Hale, armed with a handgun, first stopped at Silly’s SnoBalls and ordered everyone at that business to leave. He stuck the gun through the glass of the building and told the employees they would need to get out of the business as well. When someone dialed 911, Hale fled east along Main Street.
He next appeared at the MK Mart in the 600 block of Main Street where he entered the store with the gun still in his hand. He threatened the cashier there and ordered that business be cleared as well.
At this point an officer from the South Congaree Police Department arrived. The officer entered the store, gun drawn, and ordered Hale, who was standing near the coolers drinking a beer to drop his gun. At first Hale refused those commands. Eventually, after the officer reasoned with Hale inside the store, he dropped the pistol, got on the ground as ordered, and was taken in to custody.
Chief Shumpert said that the situation could have very easily ended in an officer involved shooting with Hale dead. “Our officer showed great restraint in a situation where this suspect was obviously agitated and wasn’t thinking clearly. Although our officer would have been within the scope of his training to shoot the suspect if he had raised the gun, he kept his head and relied on his training to calm the suspect and eventually disarm him.”
Shumpert said that Hale has been charged with multiple counts of pointing and presenting a firearm, felon in possession of a firearm, and felon in possession of ammunition.