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Coroner identifies suspect killed in officer involved shooting on I-26 near Chapin Sunday afternoon

Lexington, SC 08/16/2021 (Paul Kirby) - Monday afternoon, Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher released the name of the suspect who was killed in an officer involved shooting on I-26 east at exit 91 in Lexington County. This incident happened on Sunday, August 15, 2021, near the Town of Chapin.

According to Coroner Fisher, Phillip John Walden, 40, of Taylors S.C. was killed during an incident that involved a confrontation with law enforcement officers. Fisher said that Walden died at the scene due to multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body.

According to a statement released by Sheriff Lee Foster of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Department, around 5:51 p.m. Sunday, that department received a report of a carjacking on I-26 near the Newberry County - Laurens County line. Deputies were advised that the suspect was driving east toward Newberry as they converged on the interstate. When they encountered the suspect, he refused to stop and initiated a pursuit with deputies.

The pursuit continued through Newberry County and crossed into Lexington County between the towns of Little Mountain and Chapin. Sheriff Foster said in his statement that the suspect hit multiple cars as he fled with law enforcement officers in pursuit.

At the Chapin exit (Exit 91), the suspect attempted to get off the interstate. At some point, he turned around and tried to reenter I-26 in the wrong direction, according to the sheriff. A deputy was able to get past the fleeing suspect and used his cruiser to block the ramp preventing the man from getting back onto I-26. Instead of stopping, the suspect hit the deputy's cruiser with his vehicle. He then jumped out and confronted the deputy. At that point, the deputy drew his weapon, opened fire, and shot the suspect multiple times until he was no longer a threat. The deputy was not injured in this incident.

As is standard procedure, agents from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) were notified to investigate the shooting because an officer was involved. The Lexington County Coroner's Office also had personnel respond to conduct the death investigation.

Crime Scene technicians closed the interstate completely shortly after the shooting as they gathered evidence and began their portion of the investigation. The interstate remained closed for approximately 6 hours as they worked. Shortly after midnight Monday morning, traffic was released and returned to normal.

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