Authorities identify suspect in officer involved shooting in Berkeley County

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ST. STEPHEN, SC (WCSC) –

Authorities have identified a suspect in an officer-involved shooting in Berkeley County that injured both men Friday morning.

Officials with the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office say 31-year-old Calvin Lorenzo Middleton was arrested then transported to Trident Hospital following a traffic stop in St. Stephen.

Deputy Cody Gooch, 28, was wounded in the incident, Lewis said. Gooch joined the sheriff’s office shortly after Lewis took office and Lewis said he hired Gooch.

Lewis said Gooch is in good condition and in good spirits. At one point, Lewis said Gooch asked, “Sheriff, can I still try out for the corporal’s test next week?”

Gooch’s mother, father and girlfriend are all at the hospital, Lewis said. He has since been moved to a private room from the trauma center, Lewis said.

Deputies responded to a report of a domestic dispute at approximately 5:30 a.m. in the 1000 block of Pine Tree Drive, which is right off Highway 52, according to Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mike Cochran.

“As I understand the husband was threatening wife at the scene and he had a weapon,” Lewis said at the news conference. Lewis described the situation as “life-threatening.”

Once deputies arrived at the scene, they were notified the suspect left and might be armed. Lewis said the suspect’s vehicle description was given to the deputies. According to the sheriff’s office, Gooch saw the suspect vehicle and conducted a traffic stop.

Investigators say as Gooch was approaching the vehicle, the suspect’s driver’s door opened and the suspect shot the deputy.

Gooch and two others deputies then returned fire, authorities said.

The suspect was “immobilized,” Cochran said.

Both Gooch and Middleton were taken to Trident Hospital for treatment.

“He’s in very good spirits, he’s stable, and we’ll go from here,” Trident Health surgeon Dr. John Smear said.

Smear said Middleton is also in stable condition.

Lewis declined to describe details of Gooch’s injuries.

“We are incredibly grateful and blessed that Deputy Gooch was not seriously injured,” he said. “I want to thank the many first responders, area chiefs and sheriffs, SLED and the many others who have called and offered their assistance.”

Per @BerkCoSheriff: Deputies responded to a domestic dispute and heard the suspect was armed. The suspect fled and was found nearby. He left the vehicle and fired at 3 deputies, who returned fire. Deputy Cody Gooch and the suspect are being treated for several gunshot wounds. pic.twitter.com/WX5ccEsrYe

— Brad Streicher (@bradrstreicher) March 2, 2018

Sheriff: ‘This is a dangerous business’

Lewis said incidents like these serve as a reminder of what a dangerous profession this is.

“Any injury in this business can be life-threatening when you’re talking about handguns and firearms being fired at you,” Lewis said. “A couple of centimeters here or there can make all the difference in the world.”

Lewis said the shooting underscores the danger law enforcement officers face every day.

“It’s ironic that we’re here and it’s really kind of sad to say, but two years ago this past Monday, Deputy Kimber Gist was here in this same hospital, in this same trauma unit being treated for gunshot wounds in the same trauma room that Deputy Gooch was in,” he said.

Gist was wounded eight times on Feb. 26, 2016, while investigating a suspicious vehicle with two people inside behind a Red Bank Road grocery store in Goose Creek. She returned to active duty on Jan. 17, 2017, almost a full year later.

Lewis said sheriffs and police chiefs talk about the risks.

“Most importantly, the men and women who put that uniform on and go out there every day and every night, they understand it a lot better than we do because they’re the ones actually out there putting their life on the line,” Lewis said. “My point is this: This is a dangerous job, this is a dangerous business that we’re in. But every single time something like this happens, it should reinforce to the public: the reason we are out there, the reason we are out there is to protect them, and nobody else is going to do that for them.”

Lewis said without the young men and women out there doing that job, society would be “in chaos.”

“I’d like the people to just think for a moment,” Lewis said. “Those young deputies are out there, and this individual could have gone anywhere with that weapon, he could have done anything with that weapon, but he chose to fire on law enforcement, and he made that choice. We didn’t make that choice for him. So, it’s a dangerous business.”

He said it’s not an exact science because of the human factor.

All the deputies involved have been put on paid administrative leave as is standard procedure pending the administrative review, according to BCSO officials.

SLED is investigating the shooting, which is standard procedure for shootings involving law enforcement officers.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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