COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The family of a man who died in May after being shot by a Colleton County deputy has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO).
The lawsuit was filed by the McLeod Law Group on behalf of the Estate of William Jerry Crosby.
According to the suit, Cpl. Jacob Scott was sent to Crosby’s home for a welfare check, but did not have a warrant to enter the home. The suit alleges that Scott “requested Animal Control respond to the scene to neutralize” Crosby’s barking dog, then made his way into the house through a sliding door. Crosby was in bed at the time.
Scott and Crosby exchanged words and Crosby said that he was fine, according to the lawsuit. However, the Scott asked Crosby to come out into the hallway, “then fired his weapon multiple times, killing [Crosby] in the privacy of his own home.” Crosby died later at the hospital.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) was called in to investigate, as is standard in any officer-involved shooting. The report from SLED paints a different story.
According to the SLED report, CCSO received a 911 call from Crosby’s cell phone earlier that evening, but no one was on the line. They called back and and a man told them that everything was fine. Crosby’s wife then requested a welfare check because she was worried that Crosby was going to harm himself.
Scott arrived and observed on the outside porch a notebook containing what appeared to be a suicide note next to a bottle of white pills. He requested animal control to secure the dog and called for backup.
After knocking and announcing his presence multiple times, Scott took steps to “[speed] up the process because he was afraid the individual inside had taken a bunch of pills and was dying.”
When Scott attempted to enter the home, the dog backed away. Scott searched the home and announced himself, then found “Crosby lying on the bed, tucked under the fitted sheet as if he were in a cocoon.”
As the men spoke, Scott said that Crosby got more agitated. He asked him to come outside and speak on the porch. Scott also said that he thought Crosby “may have overdosed, and he could not leave him and let him die in the bedroom.”
Crosby finally got up and Scott said that he could tell Crosby was not armed, so he gave him room. Crosby then went into a closet and came out with a rifle. Scott shouted at Crosby and “was unsure if [Crosby] fired at him, but… saw [Crosby] manipulate the rifle and raise it.” He then fired his weapon.
Scott said he rendered aid and called for backup.
SLED said that the body camera footage was consistent with the statements provided by Scott and another deputy on scene.
The Colleton County Sherriff’s Office told News 2 that as of 4:15 p.m., they were unaware of the lawsuit.