‘You are going to have to shoot me’; Solicitor: No wrongdoing in death of armed, ‘agitated’ man
By Bobby Bryant
The 4th Circuit solicitor’s office has found no wrongdoing by Darlington County sheriff’s deputies when they killed an armed and “agitated” Hartsville-area man during a confrontation last year.
Daryl J. Strickland, 65, was killed Sept. 25, 2019, when deputies were called to investigate reports of a man carrying a shotgun along U.S. 151 near New Market Road outside Hartsville. According to a State Law Enforcement Division report obtained by the News & Press, Strickland repeatedly refused deputies’ orders to put down his gun, cursed at them and told them, “You’re going to have to shoot me.”
Deputies told SLED investigators that the situation became very dangerous very fast, and as Strickland approached the deputies with his shotgun leveled at them, one investigator shot Strickland through the heart, killing him.
A sheriff’s deputy told SLED investigators that “one of us would have been shot” if the officer had not fired first, because “it was getting that heated out there, that quick.”
The incident began when people driving along that stretch of U.S. 151 in the late afternoon noticed a man walking along the roadside, carrying a shotgun. One driver said that at one point, the man was in the road; the driver said he had to change lanes to avoid a collision.
Multiple calls about the armed man came in to 911, and deputies were dispatched. A sheriff’s investigator in an unmarked truck arrived at the scene and saw Strickland carrying “a long gun” in “an aggressive manner.” A uniformed deputy in a marked car then pulled up, and they followed Strickland in their vehicles as he kept walking.
They pulled in front of him, the SLED report says, and as the investigator got out of his truck, he accidentally fired a round from his handgun, but apparently nothing and no one was hit. Two more deputies arrived, and they all ordered Strickland to stop and drop the gun.
The SLED report says Strickland refused, cursed at them, and said, “I’m not going to stop” and “You are going to have to shoot me.” The investigator told SLED he “saw the gun rise toward him” and a deputy. “He feared for their lives,” the report says, so he fired twice at Strickland. One shot punctured his heart.
In later interviews with SLED, two local men reported they’d had previous run-ins with a man in that area who apparently was Strickland. One of the men told SLED that a deer camera on his property near Rancho Road and Old Camden Road in Hartsville captured images of “an older white man,” in one case holding a long gun and in another case holding a knife.
The property owner sent the images to Darlington County Sheriff Tony Chavis “because he was concerned about the man.” The property owner told SLED that one day, he spotted the man on Old Camden Road and stopped to speak to him. “He (verbally) attacked me like I have never been attacked before,” the property owner told SLED.
Fourth Circuit Solicitor William B. Rogers Jr. told SLED that after reviewing the agency’s report, “It is my opinion there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution” of the officer who shot Strickland.