SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – People gathered in front of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday to pay their respects to 25-year-old Deputy Austin Derek Aldridge who was killed in the line of duty.
A memorial was set up and filled with balloons, flowers and notes.
“I haven’t stopped crying,” said Socorro Waugh.
Waugh brought her children to the sheriff’s office lay flowers for Aldridge.
“It is is about being a community,” she said. “We are here to back up each other no matter what.”
Aldridge was part of the Sheriff’s Office for three years. He was called to a home on Chaffee Road for a domestic violence call Tuesday. Sheriff Chuck Wright said he was shot as he approached the home.
“He was ambushed,” Wright said.
The suspect has been identified as Duane Heard. He has been charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
Wright said after the shooting, Heard led another deputy on a chase down Anderson Mill Road toward Highway 290. Shots were exchanged when that deputy attempted to make a traffic stop. Heard then crashed his car and ran into the woods. He was arrested and taken to the hospital
“They took this man into custody without firing any shots at him,” said Wright. “I couldn’t be more proud of the team we have team here. We love our family.”
Aldrigde leaves behind a wife, family and friends who loved him dearly. Daniel McAbee told 7News he had been friends with Aldridge for more than five years. He said he “lived a life of kindness and caring that we should strive to emulate.”
“He’s a really good young man.,” said Wright. “He’s exactly what we all look for when you want somebody who does the right things. I’m so proud of him and all his accomplishments in his short three years here.”
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is continuing to investigate the shooting.