Officer Placed on Leave After Drug Operation Shooting - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/12/04

Officer Placed on Leave After Drug Operation Shooting

James Rentiers James Rentiers

The investigation continues into the undercover drug operation at the Liberty Inn yesterday on Ogeechee Road. A suspect was shot, and an officer was injured. Now that officer is on administrative leave and the suspect is still hospitalized. WTOC  spoke to members of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, who say it's too early to tell what's next, but they have launched two separate investigations to determine what happened at this motel.

It's a situation police officers fear but know one day they might face: the day they have to fire their gun on the job. That's exactly what counter narcotics agent Rodney Gerido had to do yesterday. Gerido was attempting to arrest 39-year-old James Rentiers when he took off in his car, dragging Gerido. That's when Gerido had to make a decision in less than a second, shooting Rentiers.

"We call a situation like this post-shooting trauma, where an officer plays over and over the incident he's going through," said Commander Edward Williams with the Counter Narcotics Team.

Commander Williams says it's procedure for any officer who uses his gun to be put on administrative leave. The question now: "The investigation has to determine...whether the vehicle was used as a deadly weapon," said police spokesman Bucky Burnsed. "That will come out in the investigation."

Two investigations have been launched in this case: a criminal investigation surrounding yesterday's undercover drug operation, and another by Internal Affairs, looking into Agent Gerido's actions.

While police are still trying to put the case together, they hope Gerido takes advantage of his time off. "It gives them a chance to collect themselves and be with their families, get their minds together and make sure this doesn't bother them mentally," explained Commander Williams.

The suspect is still in serious condition at Memorial Health and no charges have been filed yet.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com

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