Arrest records of suspect in Beech Island officer-involved shooting reveal long criminal history


AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – WJBF NewsChannel 6 is taking a closer look at the criminal history of the suspect in Sunday night’s deputy-involved shooting.

Joel Keenan, 43, was shot at a home in Beech Island by Aiken County Deputy Sylvester Young.

Witnesses say Keenan was waving his weapon and threatening to shoot the homeowners, when he was killed.

The whole incident started at the Gulf Gas Station, on Pine Log Road, when someone called 911 and said Keenan was threatening people there.

When deputies showed there they found that the suspect, later identified as Keenan, had already taken off. Then, they received another call that he was at a home 2 miles away, on Deans Drive, making more threats.

Aiken County investigators say Joel Keenan has a long criminal history, dating back to 1990.

His offenses include traffic violations, forgery, larceny and disorderly conduct.

WJBF NewsChannel 6 obtained Keenan’s arrest records from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and they show he’s been charged for 16 different offenses, just in Aiken County.

WJBF NewsChannel 6 also talked off-camera with the landlord of the home, at 209 Deans Drive, where Keenan was shot. She told us when she bought the property, she evicted the people who lived there.

Neighbors WJBF NewsChannel 6 spoke with say the house used to be a place where drug users gathered.

One neighbor says she thinks Keenan may have been looking for the old tenants.

“I’ve noticed on Facebook [we have] a lot of mutual friends and it was a lot of people who have lived back here, in the back.” Christy Turner, a tenant of 209 Deans Drive, said. “Before the landlord took over this, the owner now, It was bad property back there. It was a drug house people were overdosing.”

Christy Turner says she didn’t know of Keenan before Sunday night, but she did talk to some of his family members after the shooting. She says those family members told her Keenan was dealing with some problems.

“They said that they guy had some mental issues so obviously he was dealing with some personal issues on his own,” Turner told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

WJBF NewsChannel 6 also looked at Keenan’s Facebook page. In one post from September, he says he lost his children because of drugs, but promises to make it up to them.

Turner says the gunman’s social media posts are just as concerning as the words and actions he expressed before being shot by the Aiken County deputy.

“He also hollered out to one of the guys that had the gun pointed at him, he was saying he was a federal agent and he recited a badge number.” Turner said.

Aiken County Investigators say the deputy who shot Keenan, Sylvester Young, is on leave while S.L.E.D. investigates.

WJBF NewsChannel 6 reached out to Keenan’s family, who declined an interview, but say they are grieving the death of their family member.Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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