Man shot by deputy charged
ST. MATTHEWS -- The Calhoun County man shot during a confrontation with law enforcement officers is out of the hospital and facing multiple charges.
Lester Ray Rickenbaker, 31, was charged Tuesday with attempted murder, armed robbery, first-degree assault and battery, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime.
During a hearing on Tuesday, Calhoun County Magistrate Don A. Rickenbaker Sr. set bond on the charges at $275,000. The magistrate is not related to the suspect.
Calhoun County Sheriff Thomas Summers said his officers asked the court for a high bond, which investigators felt was warranted.
“The main reason for the bond is we’re still concerned about the family,” he said. “We’re at the point now where we’ll wait for the court proceedings.”
Lester Rickenbaker was hospitalized after he was shot once in the abdomen during a confrontation last month with Calhoun County Sheriff’s deputies responding to a domestic violence call on Pickett Level Road.
Rickenbaker was airlifted to Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia, where he was initially listed in critical condition.
Court records show Rickenbaker, who has multiple addresses, has a criminal history that includes several assaults and a trespassing charge. In 2011, a woman filed a restraining order against him.
Authorities are still investigating what caused the man to initiate the confrontation on June 14.
An incident report states that 911 operators sent sheriff’s deputies to the residence near the Calhoun and Orangeburg county line after a senior couple reported that Rickenbaker was “out of control” and “tearing everything up and breaking all the glass items in the house.”
While en route, deputies were told the chaos was escalating. At one point, someone in the house reported the man was brandishing knives. He was threatening to use them, deputies were told.
As the officers arrived, they heard breaking glass and screaming coming from inside the residence. An elderly man then exited the home, followed by Rickenbaker, who authorities say was armed with a knife in each hand.
While the elderly man moved out of the way, deputies ordered the armed man to put the weapons down. Rickenbaker “turned and started to move towards (one of the deputies) with both hand(s) raised over his head and in a threatening posture,” the report said.
When a second warning went unheeded, an officer fired a round at Rickenbaker, who had the knives held above his head, authorities said.
The State Law Enforcement Division investigated the shooting and turned over its findings to Solicitor David Pascoe, who determined on July 11 the shooting was justified.
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