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Suspect's bullet grazed deputy's jeans

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Richland County Sheriff's deputies say they shot a drug suspect after he fired shots at them Thursday evening.

Investigators say a bullet fired by Frederick Whithers tore a hole in the jeans of one of the deputies, but did not touch his skin.

"We're very fortunate tonight that I'm standing here talking about an incident where we don't have a law enforcement officer shot," said Sheriff Leon Lott.  "We very easily could have had one of our deputies killed tonight."

Deputy Curtis Wilson says narcotics officers were attempting to serve a warrant at Brook Pines Apartments off Broad River road at about 6:00 p.m. when Whithers fired several shots at them.  Deputies returned fire and shot Whithers in the torso.  He was taken to the hospital where his condition has not been released. 

"Their lives were in danger," said Sheriff Lott. "He actually fired the first shots at us, striking one of the officers.  Fortunately, it didn't hit the flesh.  It just went through his pants leg and the arrest was made.

Whithers was out on bond for an arrest in January. Sheriff Lott says Whithers is a known drug dealer and was selling drugs in the apartment complex and along Broad River Road.

"He's a drug dealer, and that's the type of people we are after," said Lott.  "That's putting poison out on our streets.  But again, they're dangerous, they arm themselves and they don't think twice about shooting a cop."

After the shooting, investigators found a revolver and marijuana.

SLED is investigating the shooting.

Once Whithers is treated at the hospital, he will be taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

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