UPDATED: Gaston police chief coordinates manhunt after vehicle pursuit
Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) – Gaston Police Chief Shawn Mohundro coordinated a manhunt involving officers from several agencies Friday. Some include the Pine Ridge Police Department and their K-9, the South Congaree Police Department, the SC State Highway Patrol, and Lexington County.
The manhunt began after Major Stephen Watkins of the Gaston Police Department, patrolling along Hwy. 321, got behind a silver Lincoln and ran its tag on his in-car computer. The tag came back to a Nissan, so Watkins initiated the stop based on the mismatched plate. Instead of pulling over, the driver kept going and turned onto Glenn Road. The chase remained at normal driving speeds and never really exceeded 60 miles-per-hour.
The driver turned into a neighborhood called Glenn Village at a slow rate of speed. Because speeds were so low and the streets were empty, Watkins and a sergeant from Gaston who had joined the pursuit kept behind the suspect. He looped around Glenn Village and made several complete circles. Major Watkins reported that they needed to bring the chase to a stop quickly because as residents heard the sirens, they were beginning to come outside making things more dangerous. Some residents were also cheering the suspect on and some were even approaching the street in what seemed an attempt to block the police cruisers. Luckily, the suspect driver turned out onto Glenn Road where he eventually stopped and fled on foot. The fleeing suspect was quickly described by Watkins as a black male wearing a black t-shirt, blue jeans, who had a bald head.
Officers were extra vigilant because during the pursuit, the driver reached over the seat and gabbed a red bag out of the rear of the vehicle. Since they didn’t know what was in the bag, they had to think worse case scenario, the bag might contain one or more guns or other weapons. He also tried to carry the red bag as he fled, but it sounds as if at some point he either abandoned or dropped it. This has not been confirmed by the police.
At one point, the suspect was struck by two taser leads fired by one officer. They both made contact but had no effect on the suspect, and he kept running.
Since that time, SLED had arrived to assist in the search. Officers were following K-9s and had the area around Glenn Road, Lynn Street, Shumpert Road and other streets in that area flooded with personnel. They asked that everyone please stay out of the vicinity unless being there was absolutely necessary.
As of 10:30 a.m., no suspect has been taken into custody Friday. At 11:15 a.m. officers called off the search and they said they would continue their search thru investigative means to apprehend this person. If someone sights the suspect, call 911. Do not approach this person as he could be armed.
If you have any idea who the driver of the Lincoln might have been, call (803) 785-2521. As the time from the end of the pursuit increases without anyone being taken into custody, you can also call 1-888-CRIME SC. Tips can also be made to CRIME STOPPERS through their website at www.midlandscrimestoppers.com.