Sheriff: Suspected shoplifter pulled gun before being shot, killed by police

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. — Authorities say a suspected shoplifter pulled a gun before he was shot and killed by police in Chester County Saturday morning.

The shooting happened around 11:45 a.m. at the Walmart on the J A Cochran Bypass.

A South Carolina Law Enforcement Division statement said the man was killed in a “confrontation with officers.”

Police said the incident started inside the Walmart and ended outside in the parking lot.

According to Chester Police Chief Eric Williams, the man was suspected of shoplifting, and he was detained and taken into custody.

Officials said while he was in custody, he assaulted one of the officers and ran off. During a foot chase, officers said the suspect pulled out a gun and that is when the Chester police discharged their weapons.

The suspect, 28-year-old Ariane McCree, was injured and taken to the hospital, but he later died from his injuries.

"It’s very unfortunate all times when someone loses a life regardless of the situation," Williams said.

Shoppers told Channel 9 they heard 20-30 shots.

“I just knew it was gunshots and I just ran. I never thought I would see something like that," said a shopper.

The Walmart was closed until Sunday morning. Shoppers were told it may be hours before they could get to their cars.

"I never thought I would see something like that here in Chester," said a woman, who was walking into Walmart when the shooting occurred. "It makes me wonder if you're safe going anywhere in your own hometown."

SLED is investigating the shooting. Officials said they are working to interview the responding officers and others as well as gather and analyze forensic evidence.

The two Chester police officers who were involved are on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.

No officers were hurt during the shooting.

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates on this ongoing investigation.