Crime & Courts

Police: SC homicide suspect shoots himself during standoff

A suspect in a South Carolina homicide shot himself in a Charlotte motel room Sunday morning, ending a 12-hour standoff with authorities, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said.

Damien Lamer Williams, 24, of Greenville, was at Carolinas Medical Center with life-threatening injuries after the shooting at America’s Best Motel, in the 5100 block of Reagan Drive, near Interstate 85 and West Sugar Creek Road.

Shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday, Williams barricaded himself in a room at the motel with two teenage males. The teenagers, a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old, are not related to Williams, although they are acquaintances of his, said CMPD Maj. Johnny Jennings.

Jennings said officers knew that the teenagers were unharmed throughout the night, but because police didn’t know whether it was a kidnapping, a hostage situation or something else, they “had to be extra cautious.”

Police said they were contacted shortly after 10:45 p.m. Saturday about a car in the parking lot of the motel and discovered that the car was connected to the shooting death of Williams’ wife, who was killed in Greenville sometime between Wednesday and Saturday, the Greenville Online website reported.

Williams, 24, of Greenville, has been charged with murder in the death, the website reported. He also was charged with possession of a weapon during a violent crime, it reported.

When CMPD officers realized that Williams was inside a motel room, they evacuated guests from nearby rooms. Police also cordoned off the ramp from northbound I-85 to West Sugar Creek Road and blocked several nearby streets during the standoff.

About 11 a.m. Sunday, members of the SWAT Team heard a gunshot from inside the motel room.

“Our plan was if we did hear gunshots, we would immediately enter into the room using an explosive breach,” said Jennings, noting that officers knew Williams was barricaded inside the residence with furniture behind the door.

“We had to use an explosive breach to make sure we could safely enter into the hotel room,” he said.

When authorities entered the room, they found the suspect suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Jennings said. Medic transported him to Carolinas Medical Center with serious injuries.

“We made every effort and attempt to have them come out peacefully,” Jennings said.

No one else was injured during the incident, and no CMPD officers fired their weapons, Jennings said.

Cookie Stewart, who was staying at the motel, said she was “terrified” during the standoff.

“I’ve never been through anything like that in my life,” she said. “I’m just hoping the kids are all right because they had to witness all of that.”

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