A 24-year-old North Augusta Public Safety officer involved in a fatal shooting last month 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 Public Safety said Officer Justin Craven tried to stop a vehicle with a suspected drunken driver about 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9. The driver of the vehicle fled on Edgefield Road, 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 home on Rose Drive.
Police said an altercation ensued at the suspect’s vehicle between Craven and Satterwhite, resulting in Craven shooting him. Satterwhite was taken to Georgia Regents Medical Center, where he died 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 whether the shooting was justified.
“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.”
Public Safety Lt. Tim Thornton said Craven, who has worked with the department since 2009, will remain on 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.