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Man who shot at deputies arrested

Posted: December 21, 2012 5:53 p.m.
Updated: December 24, 2012 5:00 a.m.
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Ernest Allen

A man who jumped out of a van and shot at four Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) deputies Thursday night is now in jail. Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said deputies arrested Ernest Maurice Allen, a.k.a., Ernest Pickett, 25, around 3:15 p.m. Friday in Lee County.

“We got a tip he would be in a certain part of Lee County and contacted the Lee County Sheriff’s Office,” Matthews said. “We got involved in a foot chase. He ran into a storage shed behind a mobile home.”

Matthews said deputies quickly located Allen in the shed and arrested him. He said Allen had a quantity of marijuana on his person and $800 cash.

The sheriff said deputies found Allen in Lee County’s Red Hill community, about four to five miles from an area commonly known as Little Egypt.

In a press release, Matthews said Kershaw County deputies had searched for Allen in several areas, but then received word that he would be traveling in Lee County. He said Allen was arrested without injuries to either Allen or law enforcement.

“The deputies knew that Allen had tried to shoot out it with officer the night before,” Matthews said in the release. “They didn’t know if he had obtained another weapon, so they showed real professionalism and great restraint in apprehending Allen. We are all relieved that he is in custody and no longer a danger to the community.”

Thursday night’s shooting took place after deputies initiated a traffic stop on Precipice Road east of Camden. Friday morning, Matthews said Allen had an open bench warrant out against him after he failed to appear in court on several charges in early November. He said deputies received a tip earlier Thursday evening that Allen might be in a minivan on or near Precipice Road. Deputies followed up and attempted to locate the vehicle.

According to a KCSO press release, deputies initiated the traffic stop after locating him riding as a passenger inside the van only to have Allen jump out, reach into his pants and open fire on deputies with a .38 caliber pistol.

“One deputy returned fire, but it is unknown if Allen was hit,” Matthews said.

Allen fled into a nearby wooded area resulting in the KCSO bloodhound team being called in on the search.  Matthews confirmed that bloodhounds led officers to the pistol Allen used which had four spent rounds and one empty chamber. Officers continued searching, but the trail went cold.

A SLED bloodhound team with fresh dogs picked up the trail, but the search was unsuccessful and was called off around 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

“He was tracked through the woods out across Precipice Road in the direction of the Hermitage Farms Mobile Home Park,” said Matthews. “He was facing 10 years on eight counts of distribution of crack cocaine. Now he has tacked on four attempted murder charges.”

Matthews said a woman driving the van Thursday was not arrested and will not be charged.

According to the press release, KCSO narcotics agents attempted to arrest Allen on those eight crack charges earlier this year, but fled to Miami. The KCSO got in touch with Miami law enforcement officials who were able to locate and arrest Allen and bring him back to Kershaw County. He was released on bond a short time later.

Online court records show that bond on each of the eight charges ranged from $15,000 to $40,000 for a total of $225,000. However, each was set as a surety bond, meaning he only had to pay 10 percent, or $22,500 -- apparently low enough for him to stay out of jail.

In October, a KCSO deputy conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle Allen was driving. While it was still moving, Allen jumped out and fled, leaving a child and woman in the vehicle which crashed. Warrants were obtained for failing to stop for blue lights, child endangerment and possession of marijuana.

The bench warrant was issued when he failed to appear in court on the earlier charges in November.

Although a check of online detention center records do not show that Allen has been in jail anywhere in South Carolina recently, Matthews said he appears he has been incarcerated before.

“Apparently, he did do some time because he had assault on a corrections officer on his rap sheet. So he has been in prison -- I guess he (didn’t) want to go back,” Matthews said.

He said Allen’s arrest record includes arrests for burglary, resisting arrest, failure to stop for blue light, breach of peace, possession of a stolen pistol, numerous drug charges and traffic offenses, pointing and presenting a firearm and entering a premises after warning.

 (Editor Martin L. Cahn contributed to this story.)

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