A retired SCHP trooper shot an intruder who went inside his home, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.
BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) -
A fatal shooting occurred overnight involving a retired South Carolina State Highway Patrol officer.
Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner said retired Lt. Chuck Wise, 51, shot and killed a suspect who broke into his home at about 2 a.m. on Palmetto Bluff Road in Bluffton.
Beaufort Co. Coroner says 39-year-old Paul Edward Rowell, of Mobile, Ala., was shot multiple times in the torso. The coroner said late Wednesday afternoon that Rowell's cause of death was the result of those multiple gunshot wounds.
"When you have to evaluate ability, opportunity and jeopardy. And when you evaluate those three things, you come up with an end result. And the end result in this case is, of course, the ability was there. It was present. The opportunity was definitely present. And of course Chuck Wise felt that his life and his family's lives were in jeopardy," Tanner said.
Wise told the sheriff's office that he and his wife were woken up by their dogs barking. He grabbed a flashlight and looked outside the front door to investigate. That's when Rowell got out of a truck parked in front of his home.
As Rowell walked up to his house, Wise got a handgun and returned to the door, according to the sheriff's office. He told Rowell to leave and warned him that he was armed. Rowell insisted on coming inside and Wise fired a gunshot into the air, according to the sheriff's office.
Rowell attacked Wise, assaulting him and tried to take Wise's gun, according to the sheriff's office. Rowell forced his way into the home and Wise fired several shots, killing Rowell, according to the BCSO. Wise wasn't injured.
"Based on the fact that I was on the crime scene since 2 a.m. this morning, it's clear to me that Chuck Wise did everything that he felt like he should do to protect himself, his family and his home. I'm not speaking for anyone other than myself," Tanner said.
It's unclear why Rowell showed up at the house. It is believed that Rowell may have been the same suspect involved in suspicious activity that was reported as having happened at a nearby home about 30 minutes before the shooting, according to the sheriff's office.
Rowell's body was sent to the Medical University of South Carolina for an autopsy.
Earlier that night, someone on Joe Houston Lane told deputies that a suspicious male had followed him home who had been driving a truck matching the description of the one driven by Rowell. The man went up to the victim in a bizarre and aggressive manner and repeatedly threatened to kill him, according to the sheriff's office.
The victim maintained his distance and told the subject he was calling 911. The man went back into his truck and left the area.
The sheriff said he and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division will sit down with Solicitor Duffie Stone to decide whether charges will be brought against Wise.