Lancaster County deputy collapses, hospitalized after struggle with suspect

A Lancaster County deputy was hospitalized Wednesday after he collapsed during a struggle with a suspect.

The deputy was admitted to Springs Memorial Hospital in Lancaster around 2 p.m. after he was rushed to the emergency room, said Doug Barfield, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson.

Barfield declined to name the deputy. The officer is a veteran patrol deputy, Barfield said.

Barfield said the collapse was not because the officer was hurt by the suspect.

“This appears to be a medical issue, not an assault issue,” Barfield said.

The officer’s condition and the reason for the collapse was unclear.

“We are all hoping that he recovers,” Barfield said.

The incident came a day after two York Police Department officers were injured in a fight with a suspect with a knife.

Dozens of police officers from several South Carolina agencies responded to Tuesday’s incident on S.C. 903, a few miles east of Lancaster, after the deputy’s supervisor radioed that an officer needed help, Barfield said.

“There were blue lights coming from several directions after the call for help went out,” Barfield said.

The deputy was trying to take the male suspect who was “acting strange” outside a convenience store into emergency protective custody when the suspect refused to be handcuffed, Barfield said. During the altercation, that also involved a sergeant with the sheriff’s office, the first deputy on scene collapsed, Barfield said.

The sergeant then issued the call for help.

Officers had responded to the store earlier Wednesday, after a call about the suspect’s behavior, police said. Officers had no reason to take the suspect into custody, so they left.

However, police were called again to the store after reports of the suspect being in the road, trying to flag down cars, Barfield said. The officer collapsed during the second call for service.

In an emergency protective custody incident, an officer has to handcuff a person for the safety of the person and the officer, Barfield said. The suspect did not want to be cuffed and became combative, Barfield said.

The suspect was admitted to the hospital under emergency protective custody, Barfield said.

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Andrew Dys covers breaking news and public safety for The Herald, where he has been a reporter and columnist since 2000. He has won 51 South Carolina Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, race, justice, and people. He is author of the book “Slice of Dys” and his work is in the U.S. Library of Congress.