‘An ambush to kill cops’: Sheriff says deputies lured to neighborhood by unfounded 911 call

A sheriff in South Carolina says deputies were shot at during an ambush attack on Wednesday. (Source: WIS)
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 10:01 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS/Gray News) - Authorities in South Carolina are investigating an incident they are calling an ambush involving several deputies responding to an emergency call.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said deputies were called to a Carriage Oaks neighborhood at about 5:30 a.m. after a man had called 911 saying he heard a woman screaming for help.

WIS reports three deputies arrived at the scene and went to the address given by the caller, and a woman met them. However, she told deputies that nothing was wrong.

Lott said as the deputies were leaving, gunshots rang out, with a round going through the passenger window and hitting the dashboard of one of the officer’s vehicles.

Deputy Joseph Shannonhouse said shattered glass hit his eyes and face. He was able to make a U-turn and get away.

According to the sheriff, more than 15 more shots were fired at the deputies who called for assistance.

When help arrived, investigators said they found a man dead in the house next door to the original address given by the 911 caller. Lott said it is believed that the man committed suicide, as the deputies at the scene never returned fire and didn’t see the attacker at the time of the shooting.

Lott identified the man as 25-year-old Frederic Westfall. He was found with tactical gear and an assault rifle. Lott called the attack “an ambush to kill cops.”

Currently, investigators said they are still working on a motive for the shooting.

Officials said Shannonhouse was treated at an area hospital and expected to survive his injuries sustained in the incident.

“We are very lucky we didn’t have an officer killed,” Lott said. “These deputies have a dangerous job, and I am thankful they were able to go home to their families.”

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