YORK COUNTY, S.C. — Dozens of law enforcement officers and first responders lined roads Thursday as the body of fallen York County Sheriff's Office Detective Mike Doty passed.
Doty was taken off life support and died Wednesday evening with family at his side at Carolinas Medical Center after being shot early Tuesday morning, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said.
Doty’s body was escorted back to Rock Hill from Charlotte Thursday morning.
As Doty’s body was driven across the South Carolina line, Charlotte Fire unfurled flags on the highways and saluted the passing motorcade as Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers escorted Doty home.
Members of the Patriot Guard and Sheriff's deputies held flags on an I-77 overpass in 15-degree weather to honor a fallen officer.
It's been 25 years since York county has mourned an officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty.
In 1992, York Sheriff's deputy Brent McCants, the last officer murdered serving York County, was shot and killed during a traffic stop.
Doty’s body was escorted back to Rock Hill from Charlotte.
Doty was injured during an ambush and shootout on South Paraham Road near the town of York.
"It was humbling,” said Carrie Harp, who watched the procession. “It was very emotional because York County is upside down right now."
Police, firefighters and hundreds more lined the roads in Charlotte as Doty’s body made the journey back to South Carolina.
"We're all first responders. We work together on a regular basis and we wanted to be able to show our respect for the fallen officer,” Charlotte Fire Capt. Joe Swigunski said.
Tolson asked citizens to keep the Doty family and the York County Sheriff’s Office in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
“You always call the officers to help you out and now you have four of them shot in one night,” said Dana Bizzle, who watched the procession.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies across the country have been offering condolences to Doty's family and the Sheriff's Office.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department tweeted, “thinking of his family and our brothers and sisters at YCSO.”
The New Kent Sheriff's Office in Virginia tweeted, “Godspeed Mike. Rest in peace brother.”
The Los Angeles Police Department’s gangs and narcotics unit said they were "sending their heartfelt condolences and prayers to the family of detective Doty.”
Doty started working at the York County Sheriff’s Office in May 2006. He was an investigator with the York County Multi-jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit.
"He's the guy who spearheaded us all,” said Trent Faris with the York County Sheriff's Office. “Every deputy in the county has Narcan in their cars to be able to save lives."
He was one of four York County law enforcement officers who were ambushed as they searched for a man suspected of beating his wife in the couple's home.
The other three officers, deputies Buddy Brown and Randy Clinton and York Police Officer Kyle Cummings have been in and out of surgery, but are expected to survive.
On Thursday, the Patriot Guard flew the “Blue Line flag” over Interstate 77. The flag symbolizes the courage and sacrifice of officers like Doty.
The Patriot Guard was in Fort Mill on Sutton Road Bridge over I-77 and began flying the flag at 7 a.m.
Channel 9 watched as dozens of law enforcement officers gathered on the bridge to pay tribute to their fallen brother.
Later Thursday morning, Channel 9 watched from the air and the ground as law enforcement transported Doty's body in an ambulance from the hospital to the medical examiner's office.
"These police officers are there when we need them and now we're there when they need us,” veteran Harvey Mayhill said.
The sheriff’s office has seen an enormous outpouring of support following the shootings, including from Jackson’s Kitchen, a local family restaurant in Clover that came out in the snow Wednesday to bring lunch to the department.
The restaurant staff and owners knew many of the officers well and one worker told Channel 9 they still can't believe the shootings happened.
"To have people that are there to serve you and help you literally get ambushed by someone in this kind of situation -- there to help and then the tables are turned and they're the victims in the situation -- is horrifying," said Michael Barrett.
(Sgt. Mike Doty, Sgt. Randy Clinton, Sgt. Buddy Brown, Sgt. Kyle Cummings)
Faris told Channel 9 that around 10:10 p.m. Monday, deputies responded to a domestic violence call on Farrier Lane.
The incident unfolded in the area of South Paraham Road between Campbell Road and Highway 49.
Faris said the suspect, 47-year-old Christian Thomas McCall, was assaulting his wife inside the home, but when deputies arrived, he had taken off.
Tolson said McCall ran into the woods after officers arrived, and later, around 1 a.m., shot Clinton, who was chasing him with a police dog.
Clinton was placed in a patrol car by another officer and rushed to Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill.
More resources were called in, including the SWAT team, as deputies continued searching for McCall in the woods.
The sheriff said two hours later McCall ambushed Doty. He also wounded Brown and Cummings. All three were on the county's SWAT team.
Two of those wounded officers were flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte while the third was taken to CMC by ambulance.
Clinton has been with the Sheriff's Office for 34 years. Tolson said Clinton required another surgery Wednesday morning and was in stable condition.
Brown has been with the Sheriff's Office for 13 years. He underwent surgery Tuesday, and required another surgery Wednesday, but is also in stable condition.
Cummings has been with the Police Department for three years. He was released from the hospital on Thursday.
A recovery fund set up for the officers and their families with permission of sheriff’s office had raised $38,000 of the $50,000 goal as of Thursday afternoon.
The sheriff visited his deputies again Wednesday at CMC in Charlotte. Before he left for the hospital, he told Channel 9 that SLED will be handling the entire investigation, including the domestic violence call that led to the shootings.
“Our main concern is for our guys who are in the hospital right now,” Faris said. “We could really use your prayers, and we could really use your thoughts right now for those officers."
Authorities told Channel 9 a SLED helicopter was carrying two pilots when it came under fire during the search. The officers in the helicopter were not injured but the helicopter’s rear stabilizer was hit.
Faris said McCall was also shot and taken to CMC in Charlotte with serious injuries. The spot where he was taken into custody is nearly a mile away from the home where McCall lives.
Thom Berry, a State Law Enforcement Division spokesman, said McCall has an arrest from 1994 when he was charged with assault, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.
McCall had been assaulting his wife Monday night, according to his father-in-law, who expressed shock to Channel 9, saying violence toward police is uncharacteristic for McCall. He said he didn't know of any history of violence between his daughter and son-in-law.
Neighbors witness the violent encounter
A Channel 9 viewer who lives on Paraham Road said neighbors were being told to stay inside. Faris said the Sheriff's Office sent a reverse 911 call to local residents to make them aware of the situation.
"I saw individuals carrying automatic weapons up and down the highway,” said neighbor Scott Killian. “I've never seen so many police cars in my life. In fact, I didn't know York County had that many...but it was an experience you won't forget.”
Killian didn't know at time that officers were frantically searching for McCall in the woods near his backyard. Then Killian said he heard several gunshots.
"The first burst was 'Pow, pow, pow, pow,' such as that. Then just a second it was real automatic, fast. Then it was over with and we didn't know what happened," Killian said.
Cox Media Group