Richmond County was not the only county in the area to lose a police officer this year. Aiken Master Public Safety Officer Scott Richardson was shot Dec. 20 and died in the hospital a few hours later.
Police reports say Officer Travis Griffin was called to an address in the 700 block of Teague Street about 9 p.m. to investigate a report of shots being fired. Griffin was told by a woman she heard two gunshots and saw a black Chevrolet Impala speeding away with Stephon M. Carter, 19, of Aiken, behind the wheel.
Griffin pulled the car over a few minutes later with Richardson and Sgt. Tracy Seymour. The report says before officers could react, Carter pulled a pistol and shot Griffin in the chest, then fired a fatal shot at Richardson.
Police said Carter was shot and caught in a field behind two apartment buildings near the complex by other officers who had arrived.
Sgt. Aaron Dowdy said that at least three officers returned fire and that the shot that took down Carter was fired from some distance away.
At the funeral, Public Safety Director Pete Frommer said Richardson had completed the probation period, which normally takes a year, in eight months. Besides his basic training, he had 1,460 hours of advance training. Richardson held certificates and qualifications above being an officer, including being an arson investigator and a bloodhound handler, and he showed young parents how to properly install car seats, Frommer said.
He also received the South Carolina Public Safety Hero’s Award for his work on the DUI program.
At the funeral, speaker Tim Harley said Richardson was first a family man. Richardson’s widow, Amelyn, was in the front row with their three boys, Zander, 5, Chase, 4, and Maddox, 16 months. Harley said Maddox would fall asleep only if he was lying across his father’s chest.