Simpsonville man shot by deputy files lawsuit

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GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A Simpsonville man who was shot in his home by a Greenville County deputy in June of 2019 is suing.

The deputy involved did not face charges.

Dick Tench and his wife Cindy are asking for a jury to hear their case. In this lawsuit, they accuse the deputy, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, and Greenville County of gross negligence.

“It was nothing short of an ambush,” Dick Tench said. “He hid behind the wall and shot me at a 45 degree angle.”

The lives of Dick and Cindy Tench changed in an instant on a June night last year.

“Think of this scenario,” Dick Tench said. “You were sleeping…20 seconds later you’re laying on the floor with three bullet holes in you, bleeding to death. And now, the guy that just shot you is the guy that you have to trust to save your life.”

More than a year later, he still has a bullet lodged in his pelvis and he’ has a hard time getting around.

“I’m in pain every day,” he said.

He said he had fallen asleep in his chair while watching TV when he was woken up by what he thought may have been the doorbell. That’s when he said he saw a light shining in his house.

“I think somebody’s in my house,” he said. “I have no idea anybody’s outside.”

He grabbed his gun and started to look around for what he thought was an intruder.

Then, Greenville County Deputy Kevin Azzara opened fire on him through the window by the front door. Azarra was responding to a panic alarm call at the Tench home around midnight. In body camera footage, he is heard accusing Tench of pointing a gun at him. Tench said he never pointed at a gun at Azarra and never even knew he was there.

“There was no blue lights,” Dick Tench said. “He never ever ever once mentioned Greenville County.”

The Tenches said they’re haunted by the memory of what happened in their own home.

“They put me on antidepressant pills,” Dick Tench said. “I can’t go in that room. I can’t go in that room at night.”

In a lawsuit, he accuses the Sheriff’s Office of failing to protect his rights and covering up what actually happened to protect the deputy who shot him.

“Before this, nobody supported the blue more than my wife and I,” he said. “Now I have no comment.”

A spokesperson for the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on pending litigation.

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