Hollywood, SC-- Newly released dashcam footage captured a disturbing scene as Deputies Keith Tyner and Richard Powell of the Charleston County Sheriff's Department arrived at the home of 26-year-old Bryant Heyward, who had just been the victim of a home invasion. Heyward had fended off the two intruders who were threatening his home and his life, only to be critically shot and paralyzed by those who he had desperately called for help.
On May 7, Heyward frantically called the police to report two men attempting to break into his home. After calling the police, he called his brother, who informed him that there was a gun in his bedroom. The suspects shot at Heyward twice, and he returned fire, nobody was harmed, but the intruders were successfully chased off.
"I didn't want to shoot but I had to," he said.
After arriving on the scene, the officers saw Heyward, who was still holding the weapon, and screamed "show me your hands, show me your hands." Immediately following the demand, one of the officers began shooting at the innocent man- less than 2 seconds after initiating contact.
Heyward is still hospitalized, unable to speak or move his legs, his family told ABC that he is now paralyzed.
"I should have put the gun down but I didn't," Bryant Heyward reportedly told the detective inside the ambulance. "He thought I was the crook and shot."
Tragically, this poor man blames himself for the actions of the trigger-happy police. An attorney hired by the family maintains that this is a show of his good character, and does not mean that the shooting was justified.
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"To rely solely on someone's untrained ears and eyes to evaluate the contents of the dash cam video, to include the time period to which this very complex sequence of events occurred, would be totally unfair and inappropriate to all parties involved," read a statement from the department, downplaying the lunacy of the officer's actions. "As you can imagine, a scene of this magnitude always tends to be very chaotic in its early stages, which is very common. To this day, I continue to pray for Bryant Heyward's family as well as for our deputy. Now, it is time for us to allow the investigative process to run its course."
Heyward's shooting was the 17th officer-involved shooting in South Carolina this year. Last year, there were 42 officer-involved shootings in the state.
Had Heyward stuck to warding these intruders off and not called 9-1-1 things may be very different right now, sadly. People often say, "if you don't want to be killed by cops, don't break the law," yet they still find ways to attempt to rationalize and justify cases like these, which are not isolated incidents.
In April, a woman successfully defended herself after her estranged husband broke into her mother's home and attempted to kill her. When the police that her mother called arrived at the home, they shot her.
In February, a mother of two called 9-1-1 to report intruders and the police showed up and killed her.
In October, a black teen with white parents was assaulted by police in his own home because they believed he was a robber.
In September, a man called 9-1-1 to report vandals in his home. The police showed up and killed him.