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Sheriff Lott holds press conference on fatal Hopkins shooting

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Columbia, S.C. (WACH) -- Both Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and Richland County Coroner Gary Watts says they've known the shooter in Tuesday's Hopkins shooting for years.

"This is tough...we're family," said Watts. "You deal with this day in and day out and day in and day out. But you don't ever become numb to these kinds of things when it affects...family."

At Wednesday's press conference at the RCSD, Sheriff Lott said that Deputy Coroner Leonard Bradley is now deceased after committing suicide, all after attempting to kill another Richland County employee and his ex-girlfriend.

"I believe that it was his intention to kill the female there and also Mr. Brown," said Lott. "And we're just fortunate he wasn't able to accomplish that."

On Tuesday, Bradley was driving on Clarkson Road when he saw a woman the sheriff said Bradley had been in a relationship with in the past. She was talking with Richland County Litter Control Officer Levi brown outside of a house there.

Authorities say Bradley got out of his car, had a quick exchange with both parties, and then proceeded to start shooting.

Brown was hit in the arm while the woman ran inside the house and locked the door. When Bradley couldn't get in, he turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.

"We get asked a lot of time on how to prevent these types of murder suicides, attempted murder suicides...it's hard," Lott said. "I don't have the answer."

Lott says that it was likely that the bulletproof vest Brown was wearing, issued by the county, likely saved his life. The female was unharmed.

The RCSD happened to be having a suicide training while the incident itself was occurring.

The case was turned over to Margaret Fisher with the Lexington Coroner's Office since Bradley was an employee with Richland County.

Coroner Gary Watts says Leonard Bradley wasn't working yesterday due to being on a 30-day medical leave.

Since last year, every county now has a Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board which takes a closer look at these types of cases to determine what department can work to do better to prevent them from happening in the future.

"I wish people would understand if somebody starts acting a certain way or you see something, tell somebody," said Watts. "Don't keep it to yourself. There's help available for people but you've gotta know about it."

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