Pelion, SC (Paul Kirby) - Yesterday morning, a vehicle pursuit that started in the Mineral Springs Road area of the Town of Lexington ended just east of Pelion with a young man dead after he pointed a firearm at a Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy. Between where the pursuit began, and where it ended, the young man fleeing had been chased by at least three law enforcement agencies before he took his own life by pointing a gun at an armed Richland County deputy who was just doing his job.
Richland County Sheriff Lott said yesterday that the young man, now believed to be Zachary Alexander Kinard, was a, “One-man crime wave,” that had been arrested many times before. He recounted how Kinard had been in and out of jail and prison and said that he had been breaking into cars recently and had stolen all sorts of things. It is believed that he had even stolen several handguns including the one he had when the deputy shot him.
The fact that Kinard was believed to have been breaking into cars in Lexington early Wednesday was no surprise to law enforcement officers who have dealt with him before. They also were not surprised to find that the vehicle he was driving had been reported stolen. None was even shocked he would disregard a cruiser’s blue lights or fail to stop for town, state, and county law enforcement officers. To officers who had dealt with him before, none of his came as a shock from a young man Sheriff Lott described as someone who had a total disregard for his victims or the law.
How Kinard got from Lexington to Hilton Yonce Road is a long tale. By now, it’s known he sped through both Lexington and Richland Counties with officers hot on his tail. Some are saying he had family who lived on the small, private road that most would have trouble finding without the help of GPS. Hilton Yonce Road sits between the Town of Pelion and the Sharpe’s Hill community off Pelion Road. There’s not much there but cow pastures, a few houses and mobile homes, and several long drives or fenced wooded areas that indicate that their owners want to be left alone. Around it is old family land that owners had left to their heirs for years.
The Richland County deputy who pursued Kinard down the little dirt road probably had no idea where he was. When Kinard supposedly lost control of the vehicle he was driving, he was nearing the end of the road. This area has what can be best described as some “compounds” where hiding anything or any activity is easy. The young deputy exited his cruiser when Kinard came out of his vehicle according to Sheriff Lott. He shouted verbal commands at Kinard who disregarded them before turning and pointing a gun at the deputy. At that point, a neighbor who lives on the road, said the deputy fired multiple times. That’s what officers are trained to do, continue shooting until the threat is eliminated. Kinard lay dead, his young tormented life ended by his own actions according to the sheriff.
Now, SLED is investigating the shooting at the request of Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon. Deputies from Lexington County secured the scene until their agents arrived. Publicly released videos show law enforcement officers swarming across the property recording the serial numbers of other vehicles, ATVs, and anything else found there. It could be presumed they were checking it all to see if any of it was stolen.
It may be some time before we receive the official report from SLED detailing exactly what they find. It seems obvious that a tormented young man with a terrible history of decision making, made a decision to kill a law enforcement officer or die himself Wednesday morning. From what we have been told by officials, we know how that ended.