AIKEN — South Carolina authorities obtained arrest warrants Thursday against a 19-year-old Aiken man in the slaying of Aiken Master Public Safety Officer Scotty Richardson.
Stephon Morrell Carter was out on bond from other charges when he was stopped Tuesday night by Aiken Public Safety officers at the entrance of Pace’s Run apartments on Brandt Court, police said. In the shoot-out that ensued, Richardson was wounded and died later at Medical College of Georgia Hospital. Officer Travis Griffin was hit in the chest by gunfire but was saved by his bullet-proof vest.
Carter was wounded and taken to MCG, where he remained Thursday night.
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division obtained warrants Thursday for murder and attempted murder against Carter, which will be waiting on him when he is released from medical care. According to a SLED news release, Carter will be arrested and held by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office pending his extradition to South Carolina.
As part of its investigation, SLED on Thursday interviewed Aiken officers involved in the shoot-out, Aiken Public Safety Sgt. Aaron Dowdy said. At least three officers returned fire Tuesday night, Dowdy said. After SLED clears the officers of any wrongdoing – part of standard procedure in these events – they will be able to return to duty after a mental health evaluation, he said. Dowdy said he could not name the officers involved.
Carter has been a familiar face to Aiken authorities, having been arrested at least three times since he was 16, according to South Carolina 2nd Circuit Court Records.
In March 2009, he was arrested and charged with armed robbery with a deadly weapon. The resolution of those charges was unclear from court records Thursday. In July 2010, Carter was arrested for filing a false police report in connection with an incident in which he claimed he was wounded in the leg by another person. Police said Carter actually shot himself.
His most recent arrest occurred in July. Carter was charged with possession of a weapon with an obliterated serial number and released on $10,000 bond. According to court records, a grand jury returned an indictment against Carter on Dec. 1.
Blackville (S.C.) Police Chief John Holston, a distant cousin of Carter, said the young man was born into tragic circumstances, which might help explain – but not excuse – his situation. According to news reports, Carter’s parents, Willie and Sonya Carter, had already separated when he was born at Aiken Regional Medical Centers on Dec. 3, 1992.
It was three months later that Carter’s father kidnapped his estranged wife from a parking lot at Aiken Technical College. Her body was found the next day in the passenger seat of her car on a dirt road in Barnwell County. She had been shot four times with a .22-caliber pistol. Carter’s father was arrested and convicted of murder for the killing. He has been serving a life sentence at Allendale Correctional Institution since November 1993.
After his mother’s death, Carter was brought up in the Sundy Avenue home of his maternal grandparents, Sarah Jane Hickman and Samuel Hickman Sr., according to Carter’s paternal grandmother, Alberta Carter, of Blackville, S.C. He was 9 when Samuel Hickman died, leaving his grandmother as his sole guardian.