TAYLORS, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina sheriff is praising his officers Tuesday for not immediately firing on a man who pointed a gun at them because there were other people around in a busy retail area of Greenville County.
The officers found Reginald Darnell Dogan around 7:30 p.m. Monday after someone called to report a suspect waving a gun, Greenville County Sheriff Steve Loftis said at a news conference.
The first deputy demanded the man drop the gun, and instead he pointed it at the officer. The deputy did not fire because he feared he might hit other people visiting restaurants or stores on the busy streets nearby, Loftis said.
"This took and incredible amount of self-control and discipline," the sheriff said.
A second deputy also had the gun pointed at him and fired because he had a clear shot, striking Dogan in the neck, Loftis said.
Dogan, 52, is in critical condition under guard at the hospital, the sheriff said.
The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the shooting, and said there is no body or dashboard camera footage of the incident. The agency said Dogan is black and the deputies involved are white.
The sheriff said Dogan has a long criminal record for a number of different charges ranging from domestic violence and assault and battery to fraud and soliciting prostitution.
Greenville County deputies have been involved in seven of the 62 police shootings in South Carolina since the start of 2015. The sheriff said he is tired of people pointing guns at his deputies and giving them no choice but to fire to protect themselves and the public.
"Anybody who places my deputies in danger will have to deal with the consequences," Loftis said.
Loftis did not release the names of the deputies, who are on administrative leave. "I could not be more proud of my two deputies throughout this incident," he said.