MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (AP) — Dozens of law officers searched Friday for a masked man who police say shot and wounded a sheriff's deputy at a gas station, then hijacked a car and fled.
Berkeley County Sheriff Butch Henerey told reporters that Lt. Will Rogers was shot several times Thursday night at a gas station in Moncks Corner, about 30 miles northwest of Charleston.
Law officers spent most of the day searching an area south of town near Cypress Gardens, a 170-acre garden and swamp that is a popular tourist attraction. According to its website, the gardens were closed during the search.
Officers quit searching the area Friday afternoon after determining the suspect was likely able to leave the area.
Berkeley County spokesman Michael Mule said more than 50 officers from various departments were taking part in the search. He said several hundred officers searched Moncks Corner in the hours immediately after the shooting.
Helicopters from Charleston County and the State Law Enforcement Division also were assisting in the search Friday.
"We are not treating this as an officer-involved shooting," Thom Berry, a spokesman for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said. "We are treating it as the attempted murder of a law enforcement officer."
Henerey says Rogers pulled into the gas station parking lot and was talking with a customer when a masked man came from behind the building and shot. The sheriff says the gunman then hijacked a car, which was found about two hours later.
SLED released surveillance video showing the gas station moments after the shooting.
It shows a man with a satchel in his left hand and what appears to be a gun in his right hand. He approaches a dark-colored SUV parked in front of the gas station, and a man in a blue shirt gets out of the driver's side. The suspect then gets into the vehicle and drives off.
The burgundy silk bag the man was carrying is unusual and may be an important clue in identifying the shooter, Henerey said.
Rogers underwent surgery Friday. Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston spokeswoman Helen Adams says he is in critical but stable condition.
Cypress Gardens is known outside the Charleston area as the location where scenes from the films "The Patriot" and "The Notebook" were filmed.