South Carolina sheriff's deputy shoots resident who was victim of break-in

A South Carolina sheriff's deputy shot the victim of a break-in who had just shot at suspects

The victim of a home invasion was shot and seriously wounded by a South Carolina sheriff's deputy, prompting an investigation from the state's top law enforcement agency, officials said Friday. 

Charleston County sheriff's deputies were responding to reports of a shooting at a home in Hollywood, S.C., about 11 a.m. Thursday when they found Bryan Heyward holding a gun near the back of the residence, authorities said. 

Deputy Keith Tyner ordered Heyward to drop his weapon before firing at him twice, according to Maj. Eric Watson, a Sheriff's Office spokesman. Heyward was shot once in the right side of his neck, the sheriff's report said. 

Heyward, armed with what he has described as a .40-caliber handgun, had just exchanged gunfire with the break-in suspects, according to a recorded statement he gave to sheriff's officials after the shooting.

He was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina with life-threatening injuries, according to a sheriff's department statement. Heyward was listed in stable condition, Watson said Friday.

South Carolina's State Law Enforcement Division said it was reviewing the shooting.

Minutes before the officers arrived, Heyward had called 911 to report two armed men trying to break into his family's home, according to recordings made public Friday. He grew increasingly panicked, and a scuffle can be heard about eight minutes into the call, after Heyward told a dispatcher that he believed assailants had broken in.

“It’s an emergency and they have guns," Heyward says in the recording. "Please come.”

He later told police that he exchanged gunfire with the two attackers, who may have been looking for his older brother. The weapon he was holding when confronted by police, described by Watson as a .40-caliber handgun, belonged to his older brother, according to a recorded statement Heyward gave to police.

When speaking with a sheriff's detective after the shooting, Heyward described his injury as an "accident."

"He didn't know who I was. He saw the gun," Heyward said, according to the recording. "He thought I was the crook, and he shot."

In a 911 call placed before the shooting, Heyward described the suspects as African American. Heyward also is black, according to the police report.

One of the break-in suspects, Thomas Zachary Brown, 22, was arrested Thursday and charged with burglary and attempted murder. Police said it was not clear whether the suspects injured Heyward before deputies arrived.

Tyner has been a sheriff's deputy since April 2006, according to Watson, who said this was the first shooting Tyner has been involved in.

Charleston County sheriff's officers do not wear body cameras, Watson said. Their cruisers are equipped with dashboard cameras, and Watson said that video would be made public after the state division finishes its investigation. 

Hollywood is about 20 miles southwest of North Charleston, where the shooting death of Walter L. Scott by a city police officer last month became the latest incident in a growing national discussion on police use of force and race.

North Charleston Police Officer Thomas Slager has been charged with murder in Scott's death. A cellphone video taken by a witness appears to show Slager shooting Scott in the back several times as Scott ran away from the officer. Scott was not armed.

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