UPDATE: Aaron Brooker was found dead in a bedroom Monday afternoon following a standoff.
Investigators were serving a warrant when they say Brooker started shooting at them. They sent in a robot and found Brooker dead in the bedroom.
Brooker died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the coroner. Autopsy and toxicology reports are pending.
BARNWELL, S.C. (WJBF) —- When NewsChannel 6 arrived at the scene, dozens of people were standing outside of the Walmart Shopping Center. The shopping center is right next to the apartment complex. Many of them were wondering what was happening, and why they couldn’t go back to their homes.
“I left to go pick up my kids from school, I came back, and the road has been blocked off,” said April Hammond. “I was told he starts shooting at the police when they first came on the scene, and he has been barricaded in there ever since. “
An apartment complex became a crime scene. As officers worked a standoff, residents waited for answers.
“I went grocery shopping, and when I came out of Walmart, I noticed all of the cops,” described Joseph Seigler. “I’ve tried to walk home, I parked my vehicle here and tried to go home, but they wouldn’t let me.”
It all started when several law enforcement agencies were called to the complex to arrest Aaron Brooker. The 22-year-old from Allendale was wanted on attempted murder charges. Before they could get to him, officers say the Brooker refused to come out of an apartment and shot at them.
“It’s just been tough sitting here this long waiting,” said Seigler. “It has, just for one person.”
About 50 women, children, and workers were evacuated to the first baptist church for shelter. April Hammond told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, she could not celebrate her son’s birthday due to the shooting.
Devin Johnson: What could you not do in these last five hours?
April Hammond: “Not feed my kids and not celebrate my son’s birthday. His food has been in the oven all day, so that’s all gone now. Also, FedEx couldn’t deliver his birthday present.”
Eventually, officers made their way into the apartment and found Brooker dead.
“They didn’t tell us why we couldn’t go home, but that it’s over, we can go back,” explained Hammond.
The case is under investigation by Barnwell Coroner’s Office and the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office.
Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins
BARNWELL, SC (WJBF) – Around 1:59 PM Deputies with the Barnwell Police Department and agents with SLED were sent to the apartments on the 300 block of Litchfield Street to arrest a wanted fugitive.
The fugitive was wanted from Allendale County with two counts of Attempted Murder. During the arrest, shots were fired from the suspect towards the deputies. The deputies shot back at the suspect. The Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office and other local officials secured the area.
A SWAT team with SLED arrived on the scene and negotiators made an attempt to contact the suspect in the apartment.
Around 3:55 PM officers entered the apartment after many failed attempts. a robot was sent into the house and the suspect, 22-year-old Aaron T. Brooker, was found dead from a gunshot wound.
An autopsy will be performed. This case is under investigation by the Barnwell Coroner’s Office and the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office.
UPDATE: Captain Abdullah tells NewsChannel 6 people are now able to return to their apartments. The situation has been stabilized.
BARNWELL, S.C. (WJBF) – Law enforcement on the scene of a standoff at Litchfield Apartments.
NewsChannel 6 confirms the incident took place earlier this afternoon and the surrounding streets are currently blocked off.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is also on the scene as it is still considered active as of 3:30 pm Monday afternoon. There is no word on if there are any injuries.
NewsChannel 6 has a crew on the way and will bring you more information as it becomes available.
First Baptist Church on Allen Street is being used as a shelter by the Red Cross for residents of the apartment complex.
Residents tell NewsChannel 6 the situation has been going on since lunchtime. Nobody is being allowed back to their apartments at this time.
The Family Y tells us students at the Headstart program on Litchfield Street who have not been picked up by their families are being sent to the shelter at First Baptist Church on Allen Street.
Law enforcement officials are sending in a robot in an attempt to communicate with the barricaded person.