Police in South Carolina shot and killed a violent suspect Thursday afternoon as the out-of-control man allegedly stabbed a police K-9 animal officer.
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office told reporters that deputies were dispatched to a residence in the city of Duncan Park to locate a suspect and serve him with outstanding criminal warrants. The suspect was identified as Darius L.J. Holcomb, 39, of Spartanburg.
When officers arrived, Holcomb allegedly threatened them with a knife before retreating to a bedroom and locking himself inside.
BREAKING: Suspect shot after stabbing K-9 in Spartanburg, deputies say https://t.co/TjUBL4PSKT
— Victoria Carmen (@vcarmentv) February 3, 2023
Deputies removed other family members from the home before negotiating with Holcomb to get him to turn himself in peacefully. When the process stalled, the officers used tear gas to attempt to flush the suspect out of the bedroom. However, Holcomb still refused to open the door.
Deputies then breached the bedroom door and entered alongside a K-9 police dog who was sent in to help subdue the suspect. Holcomb was still carrying the knife and began stabbing the animal. At least one officer fired at Holcomb, hitting him and ending the confrontation. The suspect was later pronounced dead at the scene.
The incident is now under routine investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) in that it involved shots being fired and a fatality.
The injured K-9 officer was rushed to a local veterinarian for emergency treatment and is expected to make a full recovery.
Local resident Julia Feydak lives on the same street where the incident occurred. She expressed shock over the matter and told reporters: “It was very unexpected that something like this would occur, and there are just so many cops. It’s quite scary but you know, whatever happens, the cops know what they’re doing.”
A new state law went into effect last year in Tennessee that is designed to protect police dogs by stiffening penalties against anyone who intentionally harms a service animal. The statute makes it a class B felony to “knowingly and unlawfully kill a police dog, fire dog, search and rescue dog, service animal or police horse.”
Missouri is considering a similar statute this year. An officer who served with a K-9 killed in the line of duty testified last week before the state legislature in support of the proposed act. He said, “It was very apparent that these dogs are not only dogs: They’re family, they’re officers. We’re all in this together. So I feel that they’re our partners and should be treated as much.”