Family members of woman killed in Darlington County deputy-involved shooting speak out

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Relatives of the woman killed in a deputy-involved shooting in Darlington County say they’re upset and want answers about what happened Sunday night.

47-year-old April Webster died after deputies responded to her home on Edna Street, for a call about a person trying to harm herself. Family members tell us she was bi-polar and had schizophrenia.

When responding, the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office says Webster ‘met deputies with a large serrated knife’. Deputies shot her and she was taken to the hospital. She later died.

News13 spoke with Elizabeth Gainey, the wife of April Webster. Gainey said law enforcement officials were familiar with their home. They had been to the house a number of times before.

Gainey says she called 9-1-1 to get help for Webster. She says law enforcement told Gainey before the shooting that they would use non-lethal methods to calm the situation involving Webster.

Moments later, Gainey said law enforcement officers pushed Gainey aside and shortly after that, gunshots rang out. Gainey told us Webster was shot three times.

Gainey says Webster was sick and weak, and one deputy could have overpowered her to get the knife out of her hand, without having to use deadly force. It’s not clear at this time what exactly happened immediately after deputies found Webster with the knife.

The deputies involved have been placed on paid administrative leave pending SLED’s investigation, which is normal protocol.

News13 reached out to the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office and SLED for specifics on the case.

Here is a statement provided to our newsroom from Lt. Robert Kilgo with the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office:

These questions and many others will be what SLED investigators are seeking to answer with evidence.  It would defile justice and be unfair for those involved, including the deceased, for anyone to attempt to answer these questions without a thorough, complete and impartial investigation. 

SLED’s Thom Berry provided this statement to our newsroom:

As our investigation into the matter is ongoing , it would be inappropriate to discuss specific details of our work.

Gainey says Webster was a member of the military, until she was honorably discharged because Gainey says Webster was raped by men in her platoon. “She was raped by men that she was supposed to be serving her country with,” Gainey told News13. 

Gainey also says Webster worked at Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, as a corrections officer. 

Thursday was Webster’s funeral. Chris Anderson, a cousin of Webster, says Webster was very supportive of law enforcement and had ‘Back the Blue’ pictures on her Facebook page. Anderson says he was close to Webster when they were younger, growing up in Virginia. She later moved away, but Anderson says they had stayed in touch, talking on the phone. Anderson says he wished he had talked to her a little bit more.

Now family members say they’re worried about how they’re going to pay for cremation, which is what Webster requested before she died.

Count on News13 for updates on this story. Once SLED’s investigation is complete, we will post those details on air and online at wbtw.com.

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