SLED completes interviews of shooting incident near Midland Valley High School

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AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – The South Carolina Law Enforcement Agency continues its investigation into shots fired near Midland Valley High School during a band competition.

Three months after the incident the private security company is still banned from doing business and a spokesperson says it’s having an impact on the company’s workers.

The company received a letter from SLED six days after the incident letting them know that they were suspended, pending the outcome of the investigation.

However, the off-duty deputy who caused all of this is still at work and SLED says there’s no timeline for when the investigation could be complete.

“They’ve lost probably $100,000 plus by being suspended,” Powell Asset Protection Agency spokesperson Stuart Prettel said.

Prettel says its taken SLED investigators almost three months to finish interviews with the agents and off-duty Aiken County deputy Michael Hawthorn.

Powell was hired by Midland Valley High School to provide security during the school’s Battle of Bands competition.

During the event several rounds of shots spooked the more than 3,000 people in attendance and Powell’s agents left the school to find the shooter.

After the incident the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office asked SLED to investigate allegations that Powell agents pointed their weapons at the off-duty deputy and another person.

The incident reports reveals that the responding officer could not determine if those agents pointed their guns but they were not when he arrived at the scene.

However, during interviews with SLED the agents had a chance to set the record straight.

“As far as I know they went very well,” Prettel told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “Everybody told the truth, of course, and they basically told the same story. That they hadn’t pulled their guns.”

Prettel says the outcome of SLED’s investigation will not only impact security companies in South Carolina, but also nationwide.

“It’s really interesting because if someone is shooting a foot off the property, the school property where they are paid to protect. According to SLED they cannot go off of that property. So they could not interdict a person that is a foot or 2 feet of the property. They have to stop and that’s just crazy,” he said.

A spokesperson for SLED says investigators will present their findings to the solicitor’s office and determine if any charges will be filed.

The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office says the deputy was not suspended, because the case was turned over to SLED and his fate is in the hands of SLED investigators.Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest details of this developing story. 

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