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Home  |  News  |  Sheriff recognizes citizen/constable for saving Deputy’s Life; who was attacked ridding community of drugs

Sheriff recognizes citizen/constable for saving Deputy’s Life; who was attacked ridding community of drugs
Friday, April 13, 2012

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC - During the Sheriff’s quarterly meeting with all supervisors of the Department on April 11, 2012, Sheriff Leon Lott took time out to recognize Mr. Russell Wheat with the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association Life Saving Award. Mr Wheat, along with his family, was recognized for his selfless act of bravery.

Sheriff Leon Lott states that on Tuesday February 7, 2011, just after 4:00 PM, the Sheriff’s Department was called to the 4500 block of Bluff Road (Starlite subdivision) in reference to drug activity. Sergeant Danny Brown, the responding deputy, witnessed a drug transaction and attempted to arrest both men. A struggle ensued while Sgt. Brown was placing one of the men (Warren Spruill Jr.) under arrest. Seven individuals interfered with Sgt. Brown in his duty by attacking him. Warren Spruill Sr. was one of those, who accosted Sgt. Brown, and attempted to stab him with a screw driver. During this altercation Sheriff Leon Lott stated that Spruill Jr. fled the area.

Sheriff Leon Lott states that a citizen watching this incident develop, Russell Wheat, took immediate action to assist Sgt. Brown as he was attacked by (7) seven family and associates of Spruill Jr. Without regard for his own safety, Wheat stepped in to help protect Sgt. Brown as he fought off numerous attackers. Sheriff Leon Lott states that this act of heroism is to be commended and saved Sgt. Brown’s life. With seven people attacking him and one yielding a screwdriver; without Wheat’s assistance Sgt. Brown would not be with us today.

Russell Wheat is a Constable with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and is also employed with a private company (which he was working at the time of this incident). Mr. Wheat observed the mob becoming irate and yelling at Sgt. Brown as he was arresting Spruill Jr. – that’s when Wheat shouted at them to let the deputy do his job. Mr. Wheat realized that Sgt. Brown had no back up on the scene and was in trouble. Mr. Wheat went to push back the crowd as they were trying to accost Sgt. Brown as he was placing handcuffs on Spruill Jr. At this point Spruill Sr. started swinging a screwdriver at Sgt. Danny Brown and Mr. Wheat placed himself between Danny and Spruill Sr. which took the attention off Sgt. Brown giving him time to disengage from Spruill Jr. and address the threat.

With the assistance of another concerned citizen, placing a call to dispatch, deputies where lead to 3007 East Way Park where Spruill Jr. was hiding and taken into custody without incident. Sheriff Leon Lott stated that Spruill Jr. was wanted on an outstanding warrant for aggravated assault that occurred on October 21, 2010 at 4500 Bluff Road (Goodwin’s Store) where Richland County Deputies arrived on the scene and found the victim lying on the ground in the parking lot with a gunshot wound to the lower body.

All seven attackers were arrested after the assault Sgt. Danny Brown – not only did Wheat help save Danny’s life but also helped put those responsible for the attack behind bars.

Sheriff Leon Lott stated that Mr. Wheat’s actions truly helped to save Sgt. Brown’s life and was a courageous and unselfish act -- one that should be recognized. Sheriff Leon Lott stated that it takes a special kind of person, with this kind of bravery, to jump in and defend a deputy and we are truly thankful.

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