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News / Nation & World

Search for man who police say shot deputy and another person closes schools in South Carolina

By Associated Press
Published: September 28, 2023, 8:09am

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — The daylong search for a man who investigators say shot two people, including a sheriff’s deputy, along the South Carolina coast led officials to close several schools Thursday.

Deputies have been looking for Ernest Robert Burbage III on Johns Island since about noon Wednesday, when they said he fired shots, wounding a person and hitting a car.

A SWAT team tried to arrest Burbage late Wednesday when Charleston County Master Deputy James Gilbreath was shot in the head. He was alert and conscious at the hospital, sheriff’s spokesperson Amber Allen told reporters.

Deputies asked people on Johns Island to stay in their homes. Allen said they think Burbage is still in the area, but she would not give any additional details.

“We have an idea of where he is, but I can’t confirm any further because the situation is evolving,” Allen said.

She did not have the condition of the person shot earlier Wednesday. A warrant for attempted murder has been issued against Burbage in that case.

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.