JOHNS ISLAND, S.C.—A search on the South Carolina coast for a man who shot and wounded two people, including a sheriff’s deputy, has ended with the man dead, authorities said Thursday.
No details were immediately given about the circumstances surrounding the man’s death, and the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office said it would hold a news conference for later in the day.
Deputies had been looking for Ernest Robert Burbage III on Johns Island since about noon Wednesday, when he started firing shots randomly, hitting a passenger in a passing vehicle, Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano said. The sheriff’s office announced Burbage was dead around 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
After shooting at the vehicle, Burbage fired on members of a SWAT team as they got out of an armored vehicle late Wednesday and one of the shots struck the deputy who was driving it in the head, Graziano said.
Charleston County Master Deputy James Gilbreath was alert and conscious at the hospital and would likely be released Thursday, said the sheriff, who released photos of the deputy’s bloodstained ballcap.
Deputies had asked people on Johns Island to stay in their homes and report if they see something out of place in storage sheds, boats or other places someone could hide.
A high school, middle school and three elementary schools in the area were closed before students arrived Thursday morning because of concerns about safety, including students on school buses, Charleston County School District officials said.
The park surrounding Johns Island’s Angel Oak, a tree up to 400 years old that is the largest oak east of the Mississippi River, was also closed as the search for Burbage continued.