Charleston police officer shoots suspect

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CHARLESTON (AP) — The police officer who shot and wounded a murder and carjacking suspect in South Carolina was a five-year veteran of the Charleston Police Department, authorities said.

Officer Sammy Stevens and his partner on the force's Quick Response Squad spotted a car whose driver told 911 he had just been carjacked Tuesday evening and tried to pull it over, Charleston police spokesman Charles Francis said.

After a short chase near downtown, Stevens shot Montrez Cyrus Simmons, Francis said in a release.

The statement said Simmons was armed, but did not say if he fired at the officer.

Simmons remains in the hospital Friday after the shooting.

Simmons, 39, was wanted for murder. Police said he stabbed a man in Georgetown County Jan. 8. Simmons also severely injured someone while stealing their car Sunday in a supermarket parkin lot in Mount Pleasant, police said.

Stevens has been placed on paid leave while the State Law Enforcement Division investigates the shooting. He was hired by Charleston Police in October 2015.

It was the second time in three weeks Charleston officers fired on someone. Jason Cooper, 28, was shot and killed Dec. 29 by officers responding to a 911 call about possible domestic violence involving a weapon, authorities said.

Investigators have not specified how many of the five officers fired at Cooper. One officer was shot in the chest, but a bulletproof vest prevented serious injury, Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds said.

"This is the second time my officers in a matter of weeks have encountered a violent suspect with a violent criminal record who was armed," Luther said after Tuesday's shooting. "We have a serious violent crime problem and we all need to work together to address this problem to make our community safer."