COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – New unemployment claims in South Carolina continue to be filed at levels that haven’t been seen in more than a decade. State officials say nearly 19,000 people filed an initial claim for unemployment during the week ending May 30. That brings the number of claims made since the pandemic began 11 weeks ago to nearly 560,000. The 19,000 claims were the least of any week during the pandemic, but before COVID-19 started spreading, only eight weeks since 2000 had seen more than 20,000 unemployment claims. South Carolina has paid out $1.8 billion in jobless benefits since the pandemic began.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Authorities say they used social media to find four men who damaged or stole property or assaulted people during violent demonstrations last weekend in South Carolina’s capital city. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Thursday his deputies expect a lot more arrests after reviewing social media and news media videos. Twelve officers were hurt in Saturday and Sunday protests, which started peaceful before authorities said a small group left the Statehouse protests and tried to invade the Columbia Police Department headquarters several blocks away. Also disturbing to deputies were several white men in Hawaiian shirts destroying property. The shirts are the signature of the “boogaloo” racist and extremist anti-government movement.
AIKEN, S.C (AP) – Authorities say a man was fatally shot by South Carolina deputies after he pointed two guns at them during a pursuit. Aiken County Coroner Darryl Ables said 44-year-old Gregory W. Hallback died from a gunshot wound Wednesday. Sheriff Mike Hunt said deputies responded to Hallback’s home on a reported domestic call involving a gun. Hunt said deputies found Hallback at the scene, who fled through the back of the property. Deputies said Hallback pulled out two pistols and pointed them at deputies, who then fired multiple rounds at Hallback. Deputies weren’t wounded. It’s unclear whether Hallback fired at deputies. The three deputies were placed on administrative leave.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina health officials have issued a warning that reopening South Carolina may have led to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Health officials had been blaming an increase in testing on the higher numbers. But they changed the message Wednesday to say people who go to graduations, businesses or other recently opened places and aren’t careful about wearing masks or social distancing may be causing the increase. The number of deaths are also climbing. Health officials say the state likely won’t shut down businesses again, saying damaging the economy doesn’t help anyone and people need to take responsibility for their own safety.