“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Conducts Death Investigation after Shooting Incident “

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11-18-19 

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office is currently conducting an investigation into the death of Kylee Dawn Woods, 11 YOA, after a weekend shooting incident.  The incident occurred at 587 Shady Grove Road, Pickens, South Carolina.

Sheriff’s deputies were notified on 11/16/19 and responded to the residence.  Upon their arrival, they found out that the victim had been transported to AnMed Health Cannon Hospital via personal vehicle.  Detectives responded to the scene and to the hospital to begin their investigation.

During the investigation, Detectives determined that several family members were “target practicing” at the above residence with multiple different weapons.  As a family member was attempting to unload a .40 caliber handgun, it was accidently discharged striking the victim who was standing nearby.  Ms. Woods was later pronounced dead at the hospital.  The weapon was turned over to deputies at the scene.

All information obtained in the investigation thus far does not indicate any obvious signs of foul play.  It appears that this is just a very tragic accident.

The Sheriff’s Office has no additional information to release at this time pending results from the autopsy and completion of the investigation.  The Sheriff’s Office is being assisted with the investigation by the Pickens County Coroner’s Office.

Sheriff Clark stated that “The prayers of the entire sheriff’s office are with this family and I hope that people will respect their need for privacy as they deal with this tragedy.”

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“Law Enforcement Veteran from Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Receives Prestigious Recognition”

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Sgt Taylor and Sheriff Clark (2)

11-06-19

Sergeant Art Taylor, a 27 year veteran of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, was selected and presented the 2019 Billy Wilkins Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement. The award was presented to Sergeant Taylor on November 6, 2109, during a ceremony at the Pickens County Courthouse.

The purpose of this award, aside from honoring those who exhibit excellence in the performance of their duties, is to perpetuate the vision of the Honorable Billy Wilkins, whom this award was named after. While serving in the role of Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor in the 1970’s, Judge Wilkins pioneered an innovative approach to policing; one where law enforcement and the solicitor’s office work hand-in-hand to ensure that criminal investigations are successfully prosecuted.

Throughout his investigative career, Sergeant Taylor has embraced this practice, routinely consulting, collaborating with, and seeking direction from the solicitor’s office long before the cases have been forwarded for prosecution.   Sergeant Taylor’s application of Judge Wilkins’ vision has paved the way for successful prosecutions on some of the most heinous crimes this county has ever witnessed.

After having joined the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, Sergeant Taylor quickly proved his value to the agency while working in various units before pursuing his passion as a detective in 2009. Following his appointment as a detective, Sergeant Taylor took it upon himself to hone his investigative skillset by seeking out the most complicated and strenuous cases. This dedication led to Sergeant Taylor pursuing a position on the agency’s “homicide team”, a unit that is essentially on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no additional compensation to be a member of this team and the hours are unpredictable, but never once has Sergeant Taylor complained about his role within the unit. Instead, despite the lack of compensation and the additional workload, Sergeant Taylor views his integral role within the team as a source of professional pride.

Sergeant Taylor’s most important attribute is his reliability. Major crimes rarely occur during “business hours”. Instead, heinous and violent crimes tend to occur either late at night or during the early morning hours. Naturally, this occasionally leads to logistical issues with ensuring that the appropriate personnel are available. This has never been the case with Sergeant Taylor, who whenever summoned answers the call with a positive attitude and an eagerness to work. Sergeant Taylor’s consistent reliability has led to him being dubbed “Mr. Reliable” by Captain Chuck James.

Sheriff Clark stated… 

“Art Taylor is an invaluable asset to the Sheriff’s Office and Pickens County is fortunate to have him not only at our agency but as a lifelong citizen of our community. His love for our county is seen every day in his commitment and dedication to improve the quality of life for our citizens. The manner in which Sergeant Taylor conducts his personal and professional life sets a standard by which we all can target as our personal goal for success”.

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“Pickens County Sheriff Returns Deputies involved in Shooting to Active Duty following Completion of Internal Review”

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10-25-19 

Sheriff Rick Clark has returned Sergeant Robert Porter and Deputy Matt McGaha to full active duty effective immediately following his review of the agency’s internal investigation.  The investigation stems from the officer involved shooting that occurred at 278 Nursery Road in Easley on Saturday, October 19, 2019.

Both deputies had been placed on Administrative Leave with Pay after the shooting incident that resulted in the death of Rickey Leonard Harris.

The Office of Professional Standards, which is the agency’s internal affairs unit, was directed by Sheriff Clark to investigate the incident independent of the criminal investigation that is still being conducted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

The internal investigation file was turned over to Sheriff Clark late yesterday afternoon for his review.  He issued his directive today to return both deputies to full active status with no restrictions.

Sheriff Clark stated…

“Our agency has reviewed the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident involving the use of deadly force and I concur with the findings that the deputies were justified and within policy in their decision to discharge a service weapon for the protection of their own life. 

Anytime a life is lost it’s a very tragic situation.  Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with our deputies, their families, and the family of Mr. Harris.”

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“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Requests SLED to Investigate Officer Involved Shooting”

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10-21-19

On 10-19-19 Deputies with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office were involved in a shooting incident that resulted in the death of Rickey Leonard Harris (61 YOA).  At approximately 2:48 pm, deputies arrived at the residence located at 278 Nursery Road, Easley, South Carolina, in response to a domestic disturbance.

Sheriff Rick Clark requested assistance from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to conduct the investigation into the circumstances of the shooting.  The Office of Professional Standards, which is the internal affairs unit of the sheriff’s office, was directed by Sheriff Clark to investigate the incident independent of the criminal investigation that is being conducted by SLED.  Two deputies were on scene at the time of the shooting; both of which have been placed on paid administrative leave, per sheriff’s office policy, pending the outcome of the internal review into the incident involving their use of force.

Details from the internal review thus far have confirmed that Mr. Harris exited his residence onto the front porch with a weapon that he pointed at deputies.  One shot was fired by a deputy on scene that struck Mr. Harris in the chest.  He died at the scene.

No one else was injured during the incident.

The Sheriff’s Office had one other call for service at this residence in March of 2016 that was related to a simple assault involving a dispute over a canine.  Both parties to the incident at that time declined to cooperate with law enforcement and the case was closed.

No additional information will be released at this time.

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“Pickens County Deputies Involved in Use of Force Incident”

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10-20-19

On 10-19-19 Deputies with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office were involved in a use of force incident that resulted in the death of an Easley man. He was 61 YOA.  At approximately 2:48 pm, deputies arrived at the residence located at 278 Nursery Road, Easley, South Carolina, in response to a domestic disturbance.

No one else was injured during the incident.

Sheriff Rick Clark requested that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division respond to conduct the investigation. The deputies were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome.

Further request for information should be directed to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

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“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Investigates Stabbing at Liberty Residence”

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Wesley Edwin Smith

10-07-19

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a stabbing that occurred at a residence located at 1620 Ruhamah Road, Liberty, South Carolina.

Deputies were dispatched and arrived at this location at approximately 6:01 this evening. Upon their arrival, they were advised that an altercation between brothers turned violent when one brother allegedly stabbed the other with a knife.  The victim advised Detectives that he had not seen his brother in over three years until this incident.  Both subjects are adult age males.

The alleged victim was transported to an area hospital with what appear to be non-life threatening injuries.

The suspect, identified as Wesley Edwin Smith (31 YOA) was arrested on scene and transported to the Pickens County Detention Center where he remains pending arrest warrants.

Detectives are actively investigating and further details will be released at a later time.

A booking photo of the suspect has been attached to this release.

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