The hunt for a fugitive accused of shooting at police in South Carolina turned deadly when law officers tracked the suspect to southeast Georgia, where an attempt to arrest him erupted in gunfire.
The brief shootout at a mobile home in rural Long County killed a deputy U.S. marshal as well as the man his team was trying to apprehend.
The U.S. Marshals Service said Patrick Carothers, deputy commander of the agency’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, died after being shot twice as the officers entered the mobile home.
“Pat is a hero,” David Harlow, deputy director of the Marshals Service, said in a statement Friday offering condolences to Carothers’ wife and five children. Carothers had served 26 years with the agency.
The slain suspect was identified as Dontrell Montese Carter, 25. He had been wanted in Sumter County, South Carolina, since mid-September on charges of attempted murder, domestic violence and illegally discharging a weapon.
The agency said Carothers and his team had tracked Carter to a mobile home just outside Ludowici, about 55 miles southwest of Savannah. Carothers was shot as they were entering the home.
Law enforcement officers returned fire and shot Carter multiple times, the Marshals Service said. Both men were taken to area hospitals, where they were pronounced dead.
Carter had been on the run since he fled South Carolina in mid-September.
According to Sumter County Sheriff’s reports, Carter assaulted his girlfriend on Sept. 18 and fled their home in rural Dalzell before officers could arrive. Carter then drove about 10 miles to the home of the woman’s uncle. Carter drove by the home twice, firing at least seven times at the uncle and others who were standing outside. No one was struck.
Carter then led officers on a car chase at speeds up to 110 mph, according to the reports, and crashed into an embankment when he tried to make a turn too fast. He fired shots at the officers from a “high-powered rifle” as he left his vehicle and escaped on foot into the woods.
Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis offered condolences in a statement Friday. His office declined further comment.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, in a statement Friday, said she was “deeply saddened” by Carothers’ death.
“He stayed true to his oath to the last, laying down his life to keep his community safe and his neighbors secure,” Lynch said. “I know that his legacy will live on in the proud annals of the U.S. Marshals Service and in the memory of his fellow law enforcement officers from coast to coast.”
Carter has had numerous encounters with the law since at least 2010, when he was arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon. In 2013, Sumter police charged Carter with firing a gun into a home and attempted murder. The following year, he was charged with grand larceny, according to his South Carolina arrest record.
It also shows misdemeanor charges that include driving under the influence, possession of marijuana, trespassing and driving under suspension.