OCONEE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Oconee County Sheriff’s Office said deputies are searching for a man who opened fire during a chase Monday afternoon.
According to the sheriff’s office, a deputy attempted to make a traffic stop at 3:32 p.m. on Highway 183 near Highway 130 due suspicious behavior by the suspect in the parking lot of Wells Fargo bank on Highway 130 near Salem.
According to the deputies, the chase moved from Oconee County into Pickens County, with the driver of the vehicle being pursued driving at excessive speeds and disregarding a stop sign along with passing vehicles on a double yellow line.
“The vehicle refused to obey officer commands and did not pull over and subsequently a pursuit begin that stretched from Oconee County into Pickens County,” said Master Deputy Jimmy Watt, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.
As the chase continued, the driver stopped the vehicle and fired shots at the deputy’s vehicle. The deputy returned fire, according to the sheriff’s office.
The deputy who was involved in the chase was unharmed. Watt said they don’t believe the suspect was injured.
The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office responded to the location where the driver of the vehicle, who appeared to be the only subject inside, fled on foot on Jamison Road near Freedom Forest Drive.
One man said he never seen anything like this in his community.
“Me and my niece were actually inside the house watching TV and all of a sudden we hear sirens like crazy. I walked out outside, and it was like every cop around was just shooting down through here. And they were stopped at the top of the street, two or three cars, they had AK’s drawn. Everybody that was leaving they were stopping them, searching their vehicle was not letting nobody come in,” said Darrell Pelfrey, a nearby resident.
“I’m concerned because my sister has a special needs child. Her youngest child will be two in August. She’s got a 13-year-old and a 10-year-old, so I’m concerned for them,” Pelfrey said. “If something was to happen, and my niece like I said she’s 10, special needs, can’t talk, nothing like that, so yeah I’m concerned for her safety more than anything,” he said.
The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office is currently conducting a search for the suspect. SLED is also investigating.
“Honestly, they need to catch the dude. put him in jail. he don’t need to be doing this,” Pelfrey said. “From my opinion he shot at a cop, they need to throw him under the jail and lose the key.”
The suspect has been identified as Christopher Lee O’Donald, of Seneca, by law enforcement. He is described as a white male with facial hair, wearing a dark shirt with either black or brown hair.
A warrant for his arrest has been issued by SLED.
The sheriff’s office has requested the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to investigate the deputy being shot at by the suspect during the pursuit.