SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. (WSPA) – Two men who were put behind bars for reportedly shooting at two Spartanburg County deputies have since been released, and their charges have been reduced after an investigation found there wasn’t enough evidence to prove they were aiming at the deputies.
Some community members are now calling on the sheriff to apologize for the original charges, but he told 7 News he doesn’t believe that’s necessary.
“I made a comment that we had the right to kill those men and, for some reason, that infuriated people,” Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said. “Well, by law, we did. We had a right to return fire, because those deputies thought they were being fired on.”
Sheriff Chuck Wright said he’s gotten a lot of flack after talking with us on Monday about two of his deputies who believed they were under fire while sitting in a parking lot in Inman over the weekend.
“Given the fact that the two LA officers had just been ambushed, and some other things that were going on around the country, our deputies had every right to feel the way they felt,” Sheriff Wright said.
Tarus Mallory and Akymzee Holbert were arrested and charged with attempted murder, and denied bond, after investigators said they fired at least ten gunshots from the direction of I-26 East–not far from where the deputies were sitting.
But, now, those two men are out of jail on lesser charges.
“The solicitor’s office called and said ‘We don’t think we can convict them of attempted murder,’ so we decided–because we did our investigation, and to err on the side of what’s right–we wanted to make sure that these young men didn’t sit in jail for six or eight months till their trial came around; so, we dropped the charges down to breach of peace of a high and aggravated nature,” Sheriff Wright said.
The comments which came before the reduced charges upset a lot of people in the community, but Sheriff Wright said there’s nothing he needs to be sorry about.
“I’ve got some people who are very confused, thinking that I owe them an apology,” he said. “Well, I didn’t say anything that I need to apologize for, because it’s very irresponsible to shoot out of a window of a moving car–or out of a parked car, for that matter.”
Sheriff Wright said he’s hoping that, by letting the young men out of jail, they’ll choose not to do something like this again.
“They admitted to shooting. They said they didn’t know the officers were over there. Of course, that’s what I would’ve said, too,” Wright said. “Do I believe they were just in that general area, just shooting up in the air and had no idea the deputies were there? I’m not sure I buy that; but I can’t prove it, so I have to give them the benefit of the doubt, and that’s exactly what we did.”
7 News spoke with Mallory and Holbert, and, while they weren’t comfortable going on camera, they told us they didn’t know the deputies were there and they had no intentions of hurting them.