Richland County (SC) Sheriff’s deputies were lured into an ambush by a 25-year-old man reporting he heard a woman screaming for help early Wednesday, Sheriff Leon Lott said.   

When three deputies arrived at the scene they went to the address said by the caller and were answered by a woman. Lott said she told deputies that nothing was wrong.

As they were leaving, Deputy Joseph Shannonhouse was the first to get in to his vehicle. Lott said as he was driving away shots rang out. One round went through the passenger window and hit the dashboard, WIST reports.

Shannonhouse had shattered glass hit his eyes and face. He was able get his vehicle into a U-turn to pull away. Lott said more than 15 shots were fired. The deputies called for assistance.

When help arrived, an investigation found a dead man dressed in tactical gear in the house next door. A rifle was also found at the scene. Lott said it is believed that the suspect committed suicide, the deputies at the scene never returned fire and didn’t see their attacker at the time. The man has been identified by authorities as Frederic Westfall.

Deputy Shannonhouse was treated at an area hospital. Lott said, “his eyes will be okay.” Shannonhouse has been with the department since September 2021.

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