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Bullet casings littered the pavement in a cul-de-sac of a northeast Columbia neighborhood after bank robbery suspects unloaded their pistols at a deputy and his partner who returned fired, according to Sheriff Leon Lott.
At about 11 a.m. Thursday, Richland County sheriff’s deputies learned about a bank robbery at the AllSouth Federal Credit Union branch in the 1200 block of Roberts Branch Parkway near the intersection of Killian Road and Interstate 77, according to the sheriff’s department. A duo entered the bank wearing masks and toting handguns. After the robbery, bank workers gave a good description of the getaway car to police, Lott said.
Deputy Ryan MacAdams and Capt. Chris Duke were patrolling nearby and spotted the suspects’ vehicle, which had three people inside, Lott said. The officers sped after the car.
After about a two mile chase, MacAdams and Duke cornered the suspects in a cul-de-sac of the Heather Green neighborhood. The suspects jumped out of their vehicle and at least two shot at the deputies, firing more than a dozen rounds, according to Lott. Deputies took cover in their cruiser as bullets hit the car. Duke shot back, twice striking one of the suspects in the leg.
That didn’t slow the suspect down, Lott said.
“It’s not that the bad guys didn’t try to kill our deputies. They did,” Lott said during a news conference where he showed pictures of a patrol car riddled with bullet holes. “They got out of the car and immediately started shooting.”
No deputies were hit by the gunfire.
The trio ran to the next street over, where the suspects had stashed another getaway car, Lott said. They got back on the road in the second car, winding back to Interstate 77.
Area residents reported a description of the second vehicle to the sheriff’s department.
Other deputies spotted the suspects and picked up the chase. The second pursuit covered stretches of I-77 and SC 277. The suspects wrecked at least one driver during the pursuit, Lott said.
The chase led to Wilson Boulevard. Near the 9400 block, a deputy who was an expert at police vehicle maneuvers forced the suspects’ car to spin out in a move police call “pitting” a vehicle, Lott said.
“Basically we ruined the (suspects’) car .... We had to stop this chase,” Lott said of the danger the suspects were causing.
After the car was stopped, the suspects again tried to run away, but all were caught, Lott said.
The entire ordeal lasted about 30 minutes.
A search of the second vehicle turned up a bag of money and three pistols, the sheriff said.
“We’re very fortunate none of our deputies got killed today,” Lott said.
During the chase, Longleaf Middle School was locked down as a precaution, according to a news release.
All three suspects will be charged with two counts of attempted murder in addition to the bank robbery charges, Lott said. The injured suspect was treated and released from a local hospital.
The alleged bank robbers were identified as Devanta Boyd, 26, Devin Mincey 26, and Daniel Williams 19, according to the sheriff’s department. One of the getaway vehicle was reported stolen out of Orangeburg, Lott said.
Investigators found a bag of stolen money in the second car, according to lot.
“Last night we just saw in Philadelphia what happened,” Lott said, referencing the shooting of six police officers there. “We almost saw the same situation here.”
MacAdams and Duke are undergoing mental health care as is standard practice after being involved in a shooting, Lott said.
“They’re taking it about as well as you can when someone tried to killed you,” Lott said. “Emotionally it’s devastating when something like that happens.”
The incident remains under investigation and more charges are possible, according to the sheriff. The Highway Patrol is investigating the wreck caused by the suspects, according to Lott.
At the news conference, Lott praised his deputies’ quick and careful action.
Before Duke fired he checked his surroundings for any civilians, Lott said.
The sheriff also commended the bank workers and neighborhood residents who quickly called police and gave helpful descriptions of the suspects and their vehicles.