Driver leads police on high-speed chase Saturday

Published 1:37 pm Monday, May 22, 2023

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POLK COUNTY— Details are emerging regarding an incident on Saturday that involved a driver shooting himself after refusing to obey commands from law enforcement. 

A report from the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office states that the driver, identified as Larry Cook of Spartanburg, led police on a high-speed chase on May 20 that began in Boiling Springs, S.C., and ended at Peniel Baptist Church on Peniel Rd., just two miles west of Hwy. 9.

Cook was brought to a stop in the church parking lot, refused to exit the vehicle and was found to have suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was airlifted to Greenville Memorial Hospital and later passed away due to his injuries. 

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The report says deputies were dispatched to a Boiling Springs convenience store on Saturday in reference to trespassing. Deputies say the suspect was involved in multiple harassment incidents of a female employee occurring from Wednesday, May 17 to Friday, May 19. When deputies made contact with Cook, he attempted to leave the parking lot in a black Pontiac Firebird. 

Cook stopped the vehicle once deputies activated their blue lights. The police report states Cook was argumentative and refused to exit the vehicle after being told he would be trespassed. He also told police he had a firearm in his possession, later pointing the firearm at a deputy who tried to gain access to the passenger door. 

According to the police report, Deputy Robinson with the SCSO moved into a cover position, drew his firearm and loudly commanded Cook to drop his weapon before Cook fled the scene. 

The Spartanburg County deputy pursued Cook through Boiling Springs and eventually onto I-26 West, reaching speeds of 100 mph. Landrum Police Department assisted in the chase, and Officer Bouwkamp with LPD deployed spike strips at Exit 1 in an attempt to stop the vehicle. 

Cook continued to elude law enforcement as North Carolina Highway Patrol took over pursuit in Polk County along Landrum Rd. and eventually onto Peniel Rd. before being brought to a stop at Peniel Baptist Church, according to officials. 

North Carolina Highway Patrol requested Polk County Sheriff’s Office conduct an investigation into the self-inflicted gunshot and PCSO detectives responded to the scene for processing. 

A section of Peniel Rd. from Hugh Champion Rd. to Bill Holbert Rd. was temporarily closed as detectives conducted the investigation. 

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 the use of its drone. 

*This article has been updated with additional details