CLINTON, S.C. ( WHNS , AP) -- A Laurens County deputy has been shot and killed as officers went to a home during a murder investigation.
Sheriff Ricky Chastain said 29-year-old Deputy Roger Rice was shot and killed about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday in Clinton.Officials said the shooting happened late Wednesday night during the search for a suspect involved in a homicide in Fountain Inn. Deputies said they were searching for Benny Brown, Jr. after investigators said he shot and killed his girlfriend, 38-year-old Nicole Kingsborough, outside the Fehrer auto parts plant where she worked earlier on Wednesday night.
Officers said that shooting happened in Fountain Inn's jurisdiction, but the Laurens County Sheriff's Office was called in to help search for Brown. Deputies said the search ended on Barrel Stave Road in Clinton, which is the street where Brown lived. Deputies said that is where the suspect shot the deputy.
Chastain says deputies returned fire and the suspect was wounded. Bennie Ray Brown Jr. was taken to Greenville Memorial Hospital where he was being treated for injuries that were not considered to be life-threatening.The deputy was taken to the hospital, but he did not survive the shooting. Chastain says Rice had been with the Laurens County Sheriff's Office since January 2010. He graduated from the academy within the last six months.Rice was taken to Laurens County Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Chastain said Brown had been charged with criminal domestic violence two weeks before in an incident involving Kingsborough and was out on bond.A background check showed Brown had a criminal record dating back to 1990 in South Carolina. His past charges included simple assault, burglary and domestic violence.According to Sheriff Chastain, Benny Brown had been released from jail on bond after the most recent arrest on June 30 on a criminal domestic violence charge. Brown had been released on July 1. Deputies said that the woman whom Brown killed on Wednesday night is the same woman who was the victim in that criminal domestic violence case on June 30.Brown is in the hospital after being shot at the scene on Barrel Stave Road. He will be taken to jail after he is treated.On Thursday morning, Sheriff Chastain, who was visibly distraught, told FOX Carolina, "If he was in jail, we'd have two people alive this morning." SLED has been called in to help with the investigation.
(WHNS, FoxCarolina.com and The Associated Press contributed to this report.)