TABOR CITY, NC (WWAY) — Investigators say Columbus County Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a murder suspect in Tabor City overnight after they say he fired at them. Meanwhile they are also investigating a fire, where another man died.
Investigators say the man deputies shot is Dion Julius Brown, 22. They they say Brown is responsible for the murder of a grocery store clerk in Loris, SC, Sunday night. Malcolm “Mac” Ray Norris, 49, of Tabor City, died in that shooting during an armed robbery.
Horry County (SC) Police Chief Saundra Rhodes says officers were able to identify Brown using Hill’s surveillance cameras.
Monday, detectives say they got information Brown was in the area at which point Columbus County Sheriff’s deputies and Horry County Police began working together to find him.
Just after midnight Tuesday morning investigators started searching the Tabor City area.
During that search, a call came in around 1:50 a.m. of a fire at a home at 311 W. 2nd St. When investigators arrived, they saw Brown leaving the home and chased him into the woods.
“Mr. Brown used a firearm and shot multiple times at deputies,” District Attorney Jon David said.
David says Brown hit a deputy but he was not hurt, because he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.
“I thank God, I truly do, that he was wearing body armor,” Columbus County Sheriff Lewis Hatcher said.
Deputies returned fire and wound up killing Brown. Sheriff Hatcher says two deputies are on paid administrative leave as the shooting is investigated. Their names have not been released.
Meanwhile, the SBI is looking into the 2nd Street fire as arson. David says Brown is believed to have set the fire. Investigators have not released the name of the man who died in that fire as they try to notify his family.
Investigators say they are also looking into whether Brown was involved in other incidents in the area, including the robbery of the Tabor City McDonald’s Monday.
“This is a very complex case on many different levels. It is very sophisticated and multi-faceted from the standpoint that there are really four different aspects to what it is we are now dealing with,” David said.