Injured South Carolina officers were ambushed by suspect, sheriff says

Sgt. Mike Doty, Sgt. Randy Clinton, Sgt. Buddy Brown, Sgt. Kyle Cummings

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Sgt. Mike Doty, Sgt. Randy Clinton, Sgt. Buddy Brown, Sgt. Kyle Cummings

York County, South Carolina, authorities are asking the public to keep them in their thoughts and prayers after officials said four law enforcement officers were shot early Tuesday.

>> On WSOCTV.com: IMAGES: 4 law enforcement officers shot in York County

Three of those officers were ambushed as they searched for a man suspected of beating his wife in the couple's home, according to York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson. A fourth officer had been shot earlier in the search.

Trent Faris with the York County Sheriff's Office told WSOC-TV that around 10:10 p.m., deputies responded to a domestic violence call on Farrier Lane, just outside the town of York.

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The incident unfolded in the area of South Paraham Road between Campbell Road and Highway 49.

Faris said the suspect, 47-year-old Christian Thomas McCall, was assaulting a woman in the home, but when deputies arrived, he had taken off.

Tolson said McCall ran into the woods after officers arrived, and later, around 1 a.m., shot York County Sgt. Randy Clinton who was chasing him with a police dog.

Clinton was placed in a patrol car by another officer and rushed to Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill.

More resources were called in, including the SWAT team, as deputies continued searching for McCall in the woods.

The sheriff said two hours later, McCall ambushed York County Detective Mike Doty, injuring him critically. He also wounded York County Sgt. Buddy Brown and York City Police Sgt. Kyle Cummings. All three were on the county's SWAT team.

Two of those wounded officers were flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, while the third was taken to CMC by ambulance.

Clinton has been with the Sheriff's Office for 34 years. Tolson said Clinton had not been taken into surgery Tuesday afternoon, but his injuries were non-life-threatening.

Brown has been with the Sheriff's Office for 13 years. He underwent surgery Tuesday, which went well, and he's expected to be OK, according to Tolson.

>> On WSOCTV.com: GoFundMe Recovery Fund for the officers and their families

Doty, who has been with the Sheriff's Office for 12 years, is in very critical condition, and Tolson said Doty is "hanging on to life."

Cummings has been with the police department for three years. His injuries are considered non-life-threatening, according to officials.

SLED officials announced at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that McCall will likely be charged with three counts of attempted murder and weapons charges.

“Our main concern is for our guys who are in the hospital right now,” Faris said. “We could really use your prayers, and we could really use your thoughts right now for those officers."

Authorities told WSOC-TV that a SLED helicopter was carrying two pilots when it came under fire during the search. The officers on the helicopter were not injured but the helicopter's rear stabilizer was hit.

Faris said McCall was also shot and taken to CMC in Charlotte with serious injuries. The spot where he was taken into custody is nearly a mile away from the home where McCall lives.

Thom Berry, a State Law Enforcement Division spokesman, said McCall has an arrest from 1994 when he was charged with assault, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.

McCall had been assaulting his wife Monday night, according to his father-in-law, who expressed shock to WSOC-TV, saying violence toward police is uncharacteristic for McCall. He said he didn't know of any history of violence between his daughter and son-in-law.

WSOC-TV crews watched as medical helicopters and ambulances arrived at CMC in uptown around 4:30 a.m.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department sent its aviation unit to help the York County Sheriff's Office, and CMPD officers blocked the roads so ambulances could get to CMC as quickly as possible.

Neighbors witness the violent encounter 

WSOC-TV viewer who lives on Paraham Road said neighbors were being told to stay inside. Faris said the Sheriff's Office sent a reverse 911 call to local residents to make them aware of the situation.

"I saw individuals carrying automatic weapons up and down the highway,” said neighbor Scott Killian. “I've never seen so many police cars in my life. In fact, I didn't know York County had that many ... but it was an experience you won't forget.”

Killian didn't know at time that officers were frantically searching for McCall in the woods near his backyard. Then Killian said he heard several gunshots.

"The first burst was 'Pow, pow, pow, pow,' such as that. Then just a second it was real automatic, fast. Then it was over with and we didn't know what happened," Killian said.

Now neighbors in the quiet community are left trying to understand why this happened as they pray for the officers to survive.

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