Sheriff: Lancaster woman killed by deputy threatened 'suicide by cop'

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comMay 2, 2014 

— The woman shot and killed by a Lancaster County deputy last week told officers, “This is about to be suicide by cop!” before she tried to run down another deputy with her car, the Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

The Lancaster woman then backed her car into a patrol vehicle with a deputy inside and aimed for a third deputy, who shot her twice.

Ingrid Mayer, 55, died of a gunshot wound to the chest on Grace Avenue, less than a mile from her home on Hampton Grace Avenue.

It was the 14th officer-involved shooting in South Carolina this year.

Many details about the April 24 shooting – which Sheriff Barry Faile that day called “justified” – had not been made public before Friday.

“There’s never a good shooting,” Faile told The Herald on Friday. “We train and train and train and hope things like that never happen, but, we get into law enforcement knowing” they could be involved in a shooting.

Although the State Law Enforcement Division is still investigating the shooting, the Sheriff’s Office released findings from its internal investigation on Friday.

About 7:40 a.m., a resident called 911 to report that a woman was driving recklessly on Parkman Avenue, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.

Deputies Luke Bundrum and Shane Black found the car about six blocks away, in a driveway along Grace Avenue near Erwin Street, according to the Sheriff’s statement. They followed the car as it then drove toward another Grace Avenue home, where they conducted a traffic stop. A third deputy, Glenn Reams, arrived as backup.

Court records showed that, two days before her death, state troopers charged Mayer with driving under the influence. Deputies reported on April 24 that Mayer “appeared to be under the influence.”

While Bundrum walked to his patrol car to check Mayer’s license, Black stayed with Mayer’s car. That’s when she told Black, “This is about to be suicide by cop!” according to the Sheriff’s statement.

Mayer then “slammed the car in reverse,” hitting Black with the car door and trapping him temporarily in the open door frame of the car, according to the sheriff’s statement. Black was able to push himself away from Mayer’s car before she continued driving in reverse, ramming Bundrum’s car while he was still inside.

Mayer then accelerated forward and turned her car around in a yard and drove between the patrol cars and several trees, according to the statement.

Reams, who had been standing beside Bundrum’s patrol car when it was hit, found himself standing in front of Mayer’s car as she accelerated and aimed it directly at him in what the Sheriff’s Office called “an apparent attempt to assault him.”

That’s when Reams drew his gun and tried to move out of the way.

“Fearing that Mayer would strike him with her vehicle,” according to the Sheriff’s statement, Reams fired his gun twice as he tried to get out of the way. He “narrowly” missed being hit as Mayer’s car crashed into a ditch.

The deputies then “rushed to her aid and attempted to render medical assistance” until paramedics arrived, according to the statement.

Mayer was pronounced dead at the scene. Her death was the result of the 14th officer-involved shooting in South Carolina this year. The 15th was reported in Florence County on Monday.

The three deputies were placed on paid administrative leave, but have since returned to work. Reams, who fired the shots, is working in a “nonenforcement administrative capacity” until the SLED investigation is finished.

“It is unfortunate Ms. Mayer chose to commit these acts, forcing Deputy Reams to defend himself with deadly force,” Faile said in the statement, in which he called Mayer “suicidal.”

“We are 100 percent confident that our deputies acted appropriately.”

Still, he said in an interview with The Herald, “these officers have to live with it the rest of their lives.”

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