SLED still probing fatal shooting by North Augusta officer

A 24-year-old North Augusta Public Safety officer involved in last month’s fatal shooting in Edgefield County remains on administrative leave with pay while the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division continues its investigation.


An initial news release from North Augusta Department of Public Safety said Officer Justin Craven attempted to stop a vehicle driven by a suspected drunken driver around 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9. The vehicle fled on Edgefield Road and damaged several mailboxes and caused two accidents.

Edgefield County sheriff’s deputies assisted in the pursuit when it crossed the county line. It ended when the suspect, Earnest Satterwhite Sr., 68, stopped at his residence on Rose Drive.

Police said an altercation ensued at the suspect’s vehicle between Craven and Satterwhite, resulting in Craven shooting Satterwhite. He was transported to Georgia Regents Medical Center, where he died several hours later.

SLED Spokesman Thom Berry would not specify how close the agency is to completing its investigation but said the case file will be sent to the solicitor’s office, which will determine if the shooting is justified or not.

“We do not discuss specific details while a case is underway,” Berry said. “ The only thing officially we can say is that the investigation is ongoing.”

North Augusta Public Safety’s Lt. Tim Thornton said Craven, who has worked with the department since 2009, will remain on administrative leave until the investigation is complete. Until the investigation status changes he is working on the fire side of public safety, but has no law enforcement authority.