Around 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning in Columbia, South Carolina, police were called by a man, twice, who told dispatchers that he had heard a woman screaming for help.
But when police arrived the incident turned into what Sheriff Leon Lott called an ambush, WIS News reported.
Deputies went to the address the caller gave; however, the woman there said nothing was wrong with her.
Deputy Joseph Shannonhouse was one of the responding officers, and when he got back into his car, shots were fired.
One round went through the passenger window and then hit the dashboard, WIS reported.
“This was an ambush,” Lott said. “An ambush to kill cops.”
Shannonhouse got hit in the face and eyes with shattered glass, but he was still able to pull away in his car.
The deputies called for more assistance, and Lott told WIS that more than 15 shots were fired.
Following the arrival of more deputies, a man was found in the house next door — dead.
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Lott said that they believe the man committed suicide since the deputies who were shot at never returned fire. In fact, they never even saw their attacker.
The deceased man was Frederic Westfall, and he was found dead with tactical gear and a rifle.
There is an investigation looking into the attack and Westfall’s death, but there have been no indications of a motive or Westfall having any previous incidents with the police.
Meanwhile, Shannonhouse was taken to the hospital, and Lott said that his eyes will be alright.
Chris Joseph, a reporter with WIS has in the meantime tweeted pictures and more information on the attack, including photos of the car that was shot at and the neighborhood and houses where the incident took place.
“These deputies have a dangerous job, and I am thankful that he was able to go home to his family this morning,” Lott said.
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