Driver suffers self-inflicted gunshot wound after police chase

Published 5:44 pm Saturday, May 20, 2023

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Suspect airlifted from scene, currently in critical condition


POLK COUNTY–A driver suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound after an extended vehicle pursuit earlier today, according to a statement released by Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

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Around 2 p.m. on Saturday, deputies from Spartanburg County and officers from the Landrum Police Department pursued a black passenger car into Polk County.

The suspect’s vehicle was brought to a stop in the parking lot of the Peniel Baptist Church after troopers from the North Carolina Highway Patrol took over the pursuit.

Once in the parking lot, the driver of the vehicle refused to follow law enforcement commands to get out of the vehicle, according to police. The driver was found to have suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The driver was airlifted to Greenville Memorial and is in critical condition.

Detectives with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene to conduct an investigation into the self-inflicted gunshot and for processing at the request of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

These investigations are ongoing at this time in North and South Carolina and the name of the driver is not being released.

In the statement, Sheriff Tim Wright thanked the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office for its pursuit of the suspect’s vehicle, the North Carolina Highway Patrol for its quick response to end the pursuit safely, and the Landrum Police Department for use of their drone. The sheriff also thanked N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement for assisting in the pursuit and securing the crime scene, as well as the firefighters, first responders and EMT personnel who assisted.

Police posted on social media during the incident stating that residents should avoid the area, and temporarily closed Peniel Rd. from Hugh Champion Rd. to Bill Holbert Rd. as investigations were underway, citing a large police presence was in the area. Officials say the road is expected to be open by 7:30 p.m. There was not a danger to the public, according to law enforcement.

This is a developing story. The Tryon Daily Bulletin will share updates as they become available.