The law enforcement officer who was shot in the face early Sunday morning while in the line of duty is “making significant progress” in his recovery, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety said.
Lance Cpl. B.A. Frazier was in stable condition Tuesday and speaking with family and visitors at a hospital, SCDPS spokesperson Heather Biance told The State.
It was not known how long Frazier will continue to be under hospital care, but the man who shot the South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper has been medically cleared and transferred from a hospital to the Bamberg County Detention Center, according to South Carolina Law Enforcement Division spokesperson Renée Wunderlich.
Derrick Gathers, 37, was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina after crashing his vehicle as he tried to drive away from law enforcement officers, Wunderlich said.
Gathers was charged with two counts of attempted murder, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and failure to stop for blue lights, according to Wunderlich.
The shooting happened at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday in Bamberg County, Biance said.
Frazier initiated a traffic stop on U.S. 78, pulling over the vehicle that Gathers was driving more than 20 miles per hour above the speed limit, according to officials.
A Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office deputy was in the area and stopped to assist Frazier, Wunderlich said.
Gathers fired a pistol, shooting Frazier, who returned fire and hit the vehicle as Gathers drove away, according to Wunderlich. Frazier was shot on the right side of his face and suffered injuries that were not life threatening, Biance said.
A second Highway Patrol trooper, a second sheriff’s deputy and a Bamberg Police Department officer located and pursued the vehicle Gathers drove through Bamberg County and into the Branchville area of Orangeburg County, according to Wunderlich.
That’s where Gathers crashed the vehicle into a house, Biance said.
No other injuries were reported.
There was no word about why Gathers shot Frazier, but SLED is leading the investigation into the shooting.
Frazier has been with Troop 7 of the Highway Patrol since 2018 and currently serves in Post A, which covers Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell and Hampton counties, according to Biance.
This was the ninth shooting in South Carolina this year involving a law enforcement officer and the second involving the South Carolina Highway Patrol, according to SLED. It’s the first such incident involving the Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office in 2023.
Last year SLED said it investigated 32 shootings involving a law enforcement officer, but none were in Bamberg County.
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