COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A 25-year-old man with a hand-drawn map that included “dead pigs” written at the bottom tried to ambush deputies from his home but his plan was stopped when the deputies followed training and got out of the firing zone, a South Carolina sheriff.
One deputy was slightly injured when one of 16 rounds fired by Frederic Westfall on Aug. 3 hit and shattered the windshield of his patrol car, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said at a Tuesday news conference.
Other bullets were found in nearby homes and cars in the densely packed suburban neighborhood northeast of Columbia. The shooter walked outside and killed himself, but no one else was hurt, Lott said.
“God put his shield of armor around those three deputies,” Lott said.
The deputies came to the home after Westfall called 911 twice to say a woman was being beaten by a man. While several officers responded since it was a potentially life-threatening call, only one deputy approached the home, ruining the shooter’s plans, the sheriff said.
“His intent was to kill as many Richland County deputies as he could,” Lott said.
Lott showed a hand-drawn map the shooter made of the floorplan of his parents’ home. It indicated at least four points where he could fire on deputies with outside trees and other obstructions drawn as well.
At the bottom of the map was written “dead pigs” and a smiley face.
The man fired on a deputy as he backed up his car but the deputy quickly accelerated out of the ”kill zone” where the man would have had a clear shot, Lott said.
The other officers stayed out of places they could be ambushed from the start and other deputies responding to the shooting made sure to avoid becoming targets, the sheriff said.
“That disrupted the plan,” Lott said.
The shooter was a high school dropout who could not get into the military. He was wearing an armored vest and had more than 400 rounds of ammunition for his rifle, which was equipped with a light and a scope, investigators said.
The man told his parents he was training to fight in Ukraine and buying equipment and ammunition for the Ukraine army, Lott said.
The sheriff called the plans pure evil, but said his investigators were still left with questions that probably can’t be answered.
“That’s what makes this so odd,” Lott said. “You see him trying to do one thing, and then he does something completely different.”