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Funeral announced for Sumter County deputy shot while serving eviction

Sheriff confident in how deputies on scene handled incident

BY KAYLA GREEN
kayla@theitem.com
Posted 2/26/20

A day like Tuesday was a day in which no sheriff wants to gain experience.Cpl. Andrew Gillette was attempting to serve an eviction notice at a home in Dalzell when a man fired multiple shots at him. …

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Funeral announced for Sumter County deputy shot while serving eviction

Sheriff confident in how deputies on scene handled incident

Posted

A day like Tuesday was a day in which no sheriff wants to gain experience.

Cpl. Andrew Gillette was attempting to serve an eviction notice at a home in Dalzell when a man fired multiple shots at him. He was struck in the chest. Even with a bulletproof vest, the 36-year-old died from his injuries shortly after at Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital.

“Andrew was more than a badge and a car. He was a husband, father, son, brother and friend,” Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis said in a statement the day after the shooting.

On the lawn outside his agency's headquarters that Wednesday night sat Gillette's patrol car. Flowers rested atop the windshield, gold and black ribbon tied around the flag pole behind, flag at half staff.

Dennis has been around when deputies have been killed in the line of duty. The last Sumter County law enforcement officer to be killed on duty was Sgt. Charlie Kubala, who was shot while responding to a suspicious person call in 1996. Dennis was a supervisor with the sheriff’s office then. The loss was felt. He lost more than a colleague. He took it like losing a family member.

Tuesday was different.

“We say we’re all like family. Being the sheriff, it’s kind of more like my children,” Dennis told The Sumter Item on Wednesday.

It’s different when you’re responsible for an entire agency. When you’re the sheriff, you go to the hospital to be the one to console a fallen officer’s wife and 11-year-old son. You’re the one to answer all the questions and field all the calls and messages from across the country.

“I am the sheriff of Sumter County, and the county includes those who have sworn to serve and those we are sworn to protect,” he said in his statement.

The best outcome, he said, would have been no loss of life, but the shooter’s “unfortunate and senseless actions led to the loss of two lives and the grief of numerous families,” Dennis said.

The shooter, 56-year-old Terry Hasty, died at the house from which he was being evicted Tuesday on Thomas Sumter Highway. He had no apparent criminal record, according to public records.

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigators are taking the lead on the case, a move SLED spokesman Tommy Crosby said is voluntary but made by the “vast majority” of agencies in the state. Bringing in SLED to investigate officer-involved shootings helps ensure the situations are examined by an independent body.

Crosby said SLED investigators are working to determine who fired the shot that killed Hasty and get a full picture of what happened Tuesday.

Once that is determined, Dennis has the authority to decide whether to place that deputy on administrative leave — if it was not Gillette.

Dennis said in his statement Wednesday afternoon that while SLED is continuing its efforts, he thinks “it is clear” the deputies involved “acted appropriately and professionally” and that he is “confident the full investigation will confirm that.”

“Cpl. Andrew Gillette and the other deputies were doing their daily duties and carrying out an order of the court. I am satisfied and proud with the manner in which they conducted themselves in carrying out those duties before, during and after the tragic event that unfolded. Our deputies have my full confidence and support,” he said.

Dennis thanked the community, other law enforcement agencies and people from across the country for their support.

“We will never get over the loss of Andrew,” he said, “but we can make it through this pain together.”

A funeral service for Gillette has been scheduled for Sunday at the Sumter County Civic Center, 700 W. Liberty St., with visitation at 2 p.m. and the service beginning at 3 p.m.

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An earlier version of this article stated Gillette was 37, according to information provided in a breaking news situation by law enforcement. The corporal was 36, according to his obituary.