COLUMBIA — Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott took a two-second jolt from a stun gun Monday, but it was for a good cause.
Lott auctioned off the opportunity to shock him to raise money for the Richland County Sheriff’s Foundation. For each $1,000 donated, Lott agreed to be zapped for a second.
The first $1,000 was given by stun gun maker Karbon Arms, and another $1,000 was given by Bill Dukes, the owner of the Blue Marlin restaurant in Columbia.
Dukes gave the money because he thinks Lott’s charity does good work. It is currently helping a deputy with cancer pay his bills. The foundation also has helped a deputy who lost his family in a house fire and buys equipment for the sheriff’s office.
“I love what he does. I love what he is willing to do. And if I ever need any help, he is right there to give me a hand,” said Dukes, who helps out with the Honor Flight program that pays for flights for World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., so they can see the monuments.
Lott has been shocked before. He requires his deputies to be zapped before they can be issued a stun gun. The only concession made for the sheriff was the probes were placed on his skin instead of being shot into him with fishhooks, like a deputy would with an unruly suspect.
Before he was jolted, Lott joked with the crowd.
“I don’t have my Depends on. Whatever happens is going to happen,” he said.
After a short countdown, Karbon Arms CEO Bob Gruder pulled the trigger and the electricity briefly made Lott stiffen. He said afterward he would have fallen to the ground if two deputies hadn’t been holding him up.
Lott recovered quickly and helped run the silent auction and raffle that go along with the golf tournament. It is one of the biggest annual fundraisers for the Richland County Sheriff’s Foundation.
With Lott safe from his shock, Gruder could also joke about his role in the day.
“I feel like Eric Clapton,” Gruder said. “I’ve never shot the sheriff before.”