A Lancaster man whose truck got stuck in a car-wash drain may have panicked when deputies from the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office arrived Monday, says a relative.
George Randall "Randy" Bowers, 56, of Lancaster died after being shot in an encounter with the deputies, said Chief Deputy Coroner Karla Knight Deese.
Lancaster resident Stephanie Johnson, who said she is the victim's cousin, said she thinks Bowers got spooked when deputies pulled up, and that is what led to the shooting.
"People had come over to help him get out of the bay," Johnson said. "Then the cops pulled up. That's when he panicked."
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The State Law Enforcement Division and the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office are investigating the shooting at the New Look Car Care car wash on Lynwood Drive south of Lancaster. Neither agency released many details on Tuesday.
Lancaster Sheriff Barry Faile said the shooting occurred after 7:26 p.m. when two deputies responded to a "suspicious person" call. Those deputies, whose names have not been released, have been reassigned to administrative duties while the incident is being investigated.
The sheriff's office is conducting its own investigation. SLED is called in any time there is an officer-involved shooting.
"From what I've seen, my officers responded according to our policy. They done exactly what they were trained to do," Faile said.
Faile declined to provide specific details about the investigation, deferring questions to SLED. Jennifer Timmons of SLED wrote in an e-mail, "since this is an on-going investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment specifically."
The deputies were not hurt during the incident, Faile said. No incident report was made available Tuesday.
Witnesses and neighbors who live near the car wash say they heard several shots, but are not sure how many people were shooting.
Kevin Montgomery, the owner of the car wash, told The Herald's news partner WSOC-TV Monday night he received a call from a passerby about a truck that had fallen into a drain in one of the bays.
Montgomery said he sent one of his employees to check since the car wash was closed. The worker called and told him the driver appeared to be drunk, so Montgomery advised his employee to call 911.
"The guy asked him to get the truck out of the drain and he said he couldn't lift the truck so by the time the deputies pulled up," Montgomery said. "The guy pulled out a gun and they shot the guy."