crimesider

Investigation after white S.C. deputy shoots black homeowner

Investigators work at the scene of a shooting in Hollywood, S.C., Thursday, May 7, 2015.

AP Photo/Bruce Smith

Last Updated May 8, 2015 12:59 PM EDT

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Authorities are investigating after a white South Carolina sheriff's deputy responding to a report of a home invasion shot the homeowner, who they say was an armed black man.

Two Charleston County sheriff's deputies were dispatched to investigate the reported home invasion in Hollywood, S.C. on Thursday and upon arrival, encountered the homeowner - 20-year-old Bryan Heyward - at the rear of his mobile home, Charleston County Sheriff's Maj. Eric Watson said.

One of the two deputies - identified by authorities as Keith Tyner - shot Heyward after he refused to drop his gun, Watson said.

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Thomas Zachary Brown
CBS affiliate WCSC

In the ambulance, Heyward told police he had exchanged gunfire with two suspects who fled the home on bicycles. By Thursday afternoon, police had arrested one of them, identified as Thomas Zachary Brown, 22. Brown was charged with first-degree burglary and attempted murder in connection with the home invasion. Watson said as far as he knew, Brown had not been injured.

Online court records did not indicate whether Brown had an attorney, and an operator at the sheriff's office said that information was not available.

Heyward underwent surgery for a neck wound, and his condition early Friday was not known. CBS affiliate WCSC reports he sustained life-threatening injuries.

On Thursday, police released two 911 tapes connected to the shooting. On one, an exasperated male caller tells police, "Someone was trying to break into my house. Please come. ... It's an emergency and they have guns. Please come!"

The caller says the suspects are banging on his windows and he is hiding in a laundry room. When asked, the caller tells the operator to send deputies to both the front and the back door of the home.

WCSC reports the caller described the two suspects as black males, about 21 or 22-years-old - with one wearing a tank top and army fatigues and the other wearing a black and white jacket. The caller said he recognized one of the men as someone who came to his house the day before.

In a second 911 call, a woman asks sheriff's deputies to come to an address that appears to be at a nearby house. The caller says she saw two people on bicycles riding through her property and that something happened behind her house.

On police radio calls released Thursday, there is confusion about the identity of the man who was shot.

"It's unknown if he's part of the shooters or the victim," an officer can be heard saying after an ambulance is called to treat a man with a gunshot wound. Later, an officer asks a dispatcher to summon the State Law Enforcement Division, which investigates shootings by police officers.

An incident report released Friday summarizes the incident and says the responding deputies shouted commands at Heyward to drop his gun before the deputies opened fire. The report says when deputies arrived at the mobile home, they saw a gunshot hole in a front window and the back door appeared to be damaged.

Heyward then came out of the back door with a gun and the officer told him to drop it.

"As we were approaching, the back door swung open," said the report written by Deputy Richard Powell, who responded to the scene with Tyner. Powell said he could not see into the house from his vantage point.

The deputy wrote that he "heard Deputy Tyner shout verbal commands and that there was a gun" and "next heard gunfire as Deputy Tyner fired to suppress the threat."

Charleston County Sheriff's Maj. Eric Watson said dashboard camera video from the incident would be released Friday. He said the deputies were not equipped with body cameras. The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the shooting and the sheriff's office will investigate the home invasion, Watson said.

Watson said officials will meet with community leaders Friday to discuss the shooting, the second in recent months involving law enforcement in Charleston County.

On April 4, a white North Charleston Police officer shot and killed a black man who he said fought with him over the officer's stun gun.

Officer Michael Slager claimed he killed Walter Scott in self-defense. But a bystander's cellphone video showed the officer firing eight shots at Scott's back as he ran away. Slager has been charged with murder.

Both shootings come amid nationwide calls for police reform following several high-profile deaths of black men at the hands of law enforcement over the past year. Most recently, the city of Baltimore erupted in rioting last month after black man Freddie Gray died of a spinal injury he received while in police custody.