LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A hospital police officer and a man were injured in an exchange of gunfire at Laurens County Hospital.
Thom Berry, spokesman for the S.C. Law Enforcement Division, said there was a confrontation between a hospital police officer and an armed man visiting a patient around 2 a.m. Thursday.
Berry said the man, Kevin Boyce Patterson, 27, of Clinton, shot the officer who then returned fire.
Patterson was visiting a patient in the emergency room prior to the shooting, according to Berry.
The officer was released from the hospital on Thursday afternoon.
Patterson is also out of the hospital and booked into the Laurens County Detention Center on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping and pointing a firearm.
At a hearing on Friday, Patterson was denied bond all charges.
The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office responded to the hospital Thursday to help secure the scene, but SLED is now leading the investigation.
“We were called to an incident at the hospital. There had been gunshots,” Sheriff Don Reynolds said. “We got there early, so we put some markers down for whatever evidence we saw.”
Laurens County Hospital is part of Prisma Health.
The following is the full statement from Prisma Health officials about the shooting:
Prisma Health leaders credited law enforcement and team members at Prisma Health Laurens County Hospital for helping quickly resolve an active-shooter incident that occurred just before 2 a.m., Thursday, April 11, at the hospital.
Greenville Health Authority (GHA) Police were made aware of an armed visitor to the emergency department. The GHA officer attempted to engage with the armed man, who shot the officer. The officer shot the suspect in the arm while attempting to stop him. The S.C. Highway Patrol responded to the emergency as well. The suspect was apprehended. The officer has been treated for his injuries and released from the hospital. The incident lasted approximately four minutes. No additional injuries were reported. Access to the campus was restricted during the immediate follow up investigation. S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) continues investigating the incident.
“Our team members acted quickly to protect those entrusted to their care and each other when faced with this rapidly unfolding situation,” said Justin Benfield, the regional chief operating officer for Prisma Health–Upstate’s southern region, which includes Laurens County.
“As Prisma Health team members, we are called to serve our community selflessly every day, but this morning our team members went above that daily call without hesitation. I am proud to count each one of them as part of the Prisma Health family. I’m especially grateful to the officer for his quick action which helped ensure the safety of our patients, team members and visitors,” said Benfield.
“We will begin the process of emotional healing as a family over the coming days and weeks. We are committed to providing team members the assistance and counseling needed to ensure we are able to emerge stronger from this event,” he said.
Doug Horton, chief of police for GHA Police Department, said, “We hope an incident like this never happens again, but we must be prepared. Part of that preparation is what we do, but it’s also the community being watchful. We are actively reviewing security protocols at our other campuses to ensure that this remains an isolated incident.”
Prisma Health–Upstate has extensive procedures, training, staffing and equipment in place to help prevent and respond to workplace violence. Each of the Prisma Health–Upstate campuses is patrolled 24-7 by GHA police officers or security officers with American Security, and have metal-detector devices, said Horton.
“I am thankful for the quick actions of our first responders, our courageous team members here in Laurens County, for the efforts of other team members across Prisma Health, and the support of our community. I am proud of how our team members showed up today in protecting our patients and our community. The truth is, this is how they show up every day,” said Dr. Spence Taylor, president of Prisma Health-Upstate.
This is the second hospital shooting in South Carolina in two days.
A shooting happened Wednesday at Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department in Orangeburg, S.C.
According to the hospital’s Facebook post, one person was shot and was taken to surgery. Law enforcement responded to the scene and took the shooter into custody.
Regional Medical Center issued the following statement Thursday in response to the incident at Laurens County Hospital:
“In the wake of this morning’s shooting at Prisma Health Laurens County Hospital in Clinton, S.C., our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the victims and their families. Rest assured, the safety and security of our patients and families here at the Regional Medical Center is our primary concern. An Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Department Deputy and additional security are on duty 24/7 at the Regional Medical Center.”