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Kids in next room when cop was shot in Rock Hill

Two kids, just 7 and 9, were in the house last month when police say Tymon Wells shot a cop during a drug raid.

Right there in the bedroom next to the one in which Wells fired a gun after the cops came crashing in.

Also in the house with those kids: crack and cocaine, marijuana and scales, cash and guns - and Wells, boyfriend of the kids' mother, who has a record for stealing guns, rolling a joint, police say.

Wells was not even supposed to have a gun - much less be shooting at cops - because he is on federal parole for stealing guns from a store a few years ago, Catawba Tackle on India Hook Road.

Not just a few guns - 35 guns. Wells got 30 months in prison for that one.

Cops seized two guns during the Feb. 3 raid.

Police also testified in court that an informant, and then others in the house the night of the shooting, told police Wells sold crack cocaine - as recently as the day before the cop was shot.

Wells claimed in a statement to police that he did not hear officers identify themselves that night when they came barging into the house. Several police officers and neighbors, though, swore in statements that officers at the door called out "Police! Search warrant!"

Twice, police recalled the officers at the door calling that out. Police also say that someone inside the house asked twice who it was at the door.

The police broke down the door. Will Reap, a Fort Mill officer working for the York County drug unit, was shot in the arm. Reap shot Wells twice, once in each leg, then Wells gave up. Another officer outside was shot, but now after court testimony Tuesday, it appears that shot could have come from Reap as he fired at Wells. Wells, Reap said in police statements, was sitting at the edge of the bed and shot Reap when Reap entered the bedroom.

"Wells lifted his arm and fired at me," Reap told investigators.

Reap told investigators Wells was "shooting in the direction of the children."

Wells told police he fired a warning shot into the floor, and didn't know who was coming into that house and bedroom.

Tuesday was a preliminary hearing, to determine if prosecutors have probable cause to go forward against Wells. All kinds of information came out in open court, courtesy of Lt. Tim Hager, York County Sheriff's Office, who read the reports from the incident and follow-up investigation afterward.

Hager is a brick wall from whose work jails have been built to house the shooters he has locked up. For Wells, that wall named Hager has no gate, except back to jail to await trial, which is where Wells went Tuesday when court was over.

But before that, Hager read what was seized that night from the bedroom near the children. Crack cocaine on the floor. Marijuana on the bed and on the floor. Cocaine and crack on the nightstand. Cocaine on the entertainment center. A pair of scales.

Both the girlfriend's cousin and her boyfriend told police they knew Wells was a drug dealer and had sold crack as recently as the day before. The girlfriend told police, "A lot of people come to the house to visit Wells, but she doesn't get into his business."

She just lets her children stay a few feet away, apparently, from where the guns and drugs are. She also had complained at least three times that she was a victim of domestic violence at Wells' hands, but Wells did give her rides and help with the kids. The same kids who were a few feet away when the shooting started.

The other people there at 813 Arlington Ave. that night told police that at the time of the raid Wells was just back from the store where he bought beer. Wells was rolling a "blunt" to smoke. A blunt is a marijuana joint, often using the hollowed out part of a cheap cigar.

Then it really got going good in court Tuesday. The lawyer for Wells, a capable and spirited deputy public defender named B.J. Barrowclough, said Wells was afraid of being robbed in a home invasion. Barrowclough told the court, "It is always a serious and tragic thing when police officers get hurt in the line of duty," yet Wells had no malice against Reap and was acting because, "He (Wells) was in his own room in his own house."

The prosecutor, Mindy Hervey, a veteran assistant solicitor, would have none of that. She called Barrowclough's theory "a misguided argument of self-defense."

Wells "armed himself as a drug dealer, not as a homeowner," Hervey told the magistrate judge. "When confronted by police, he fired at them. ... He's inside, trying to arm himself and get rid of evidence. ... He knows exactly what he is doing. ... He only gives up when he is shot twice."

Wells was the same guy who had tried to save a man in a fire three weeks before that Feb 3 night of drugs and guns. That was not mentioned Tuesday in criminal court, where Hager the brick wall and Hervey the cement block wall told the judge about shots fired and cocaine and cops getting hurt. What came out was Wells in a bedroom, with drugs and guns, ready to light up a joint.

And two little kids in the next bedroom to where the shooting happened. A bedroom next to crack and cocaine, guns and blunts, bullets and blood.

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