Lowcountry manhunt ends with suspect and SLED K-9 dead
Johns Island, S.C.- A daylong manhunt has ended on Johns Island with the deaths of the suspect and a K-9 with the State Law Enforcment Division. Authorities say Ernest Burbage lll shot the K-9 before brandishing a weapon and being killed by police.
“It’s never a good day when someone makes bad choices in your community that force us to respond in a way that someone gets killed," Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano told reporters during a press conference Thursday night.
SLED Chief Mark Keel said initially his team deployed a robot into a home in which the 38-year-old suspect was thought to be hiding. Then, they sent in a K-9 name Rico. Chief Keel said a gunshot was heard, Burbage fled the residence, and there was encounter in which Burbage was killed.
Burbage was wanted for randomly opening fire near Mary Ann Point and Chilsom Roads Wednesday afternoon injuring a motorist. Authorities say he later shot at the sheriff's office SWAT team and struck Master Deputy James Gilbreath in the head. Gilbreath was released from MUSC Thursday and is expected to make a full recovery.
As for the deceased SLED K-9, Chief Keel said he'd been with them for more than a year.
“K-9 Rico had participated in too many apprehensions to name. I mean he was out almost every single day.”
Chief Keel has asked the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office to investigate the officer involved shooting.
Several area schools closed Thursday as police set up a command post and urged people to stay inside. The city of Charleston also closed the nearby Angel Oak Park to visitors.