Search Suspended in Missing Person Case

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department has suspended a search for a University of South Carolina student, after a man fitting his description was found among shrubbery in the Quarry at Vulcan Materials Company.

Samuel Laundon, 19, was walking home with several friends in the Olympia-Granby area, when they got lost on Saturday around 2:30 a.m. Laundon jumped a fence in hopes of reaching his destination faster. When his friends called a ride-sharing service to take them home, Laundon declined to climb back over.

Authorities were not notified immediately of Laundon actions. On Saturday, around 1 p.m., a report was filed with RCSD that Laundon was missing.…

RCSD Investigates Officer-Involved Shooting

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an officer-involved shooting at the request of the State Law Enforcement Division.

On Sunday, Sept. 13, RCSD was notified by the Rochester Police Department in Minnesota that a suspect wanted for a double murder was in the Columbia area. Officials with the agency said that Renard Lydell Carter (DOB: 10/23/90) had murdered his pregnant girlfriend and her 2-year-old daughter.

It is believed Carter had come to the Columbia area with the intent of killing an ex-girlfriend. RCSD deputies found the woman and moved her to a safe place.

RCSD continued to investigate Carter’s potential whereabouts while in Columbia, until he ended up in a room at the Aloft Columbia Harbison hotel (217 Lanneau Court). At that time, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department and SLED were notified, as the hotel is in Lexington County.

Officers with the Columbia Police Department, LCSD and SLED attempted to talk Carter out of the room from outside the door. During that time, Carter claimed to have an assault rifle in his possession and threatened to shoot officers.…

Former Deputy Arrested, RCSD Announces Position of Body Cam Reviewer

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announces the termination and arrest of former deputy sheriff Kyle Oliver, 29, on charges of assault and battery – third degree.

On Monday, Aug. 31, the department’s command staff was notified of an incident that took place on Jan. 7 involving then-deputy Oliver and a suspect who was in custody. After learning of the incident, Sheriff Lott ordered an immediate criminal investigation and a review of the body camera footage.

On Tuesday, the sheriff’s department consulted with the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, which resulted in the issuance of a warrant. On Wednesday, Oliver was arrested and booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.…

Blythewood Man Indicted on Sex Trafficking Charges

Brian Leroy Watson/ASGDC

Brian Leroy Watson/ASGDC

A Blythewood man was indicted for forcing or attempting to force several victims — including a minor — into prostitution during a three-year span, authorities announced Thursday.

Brian Leroy Watson, 48, was taken into custody on Thursday by the FBI. He is scheduled to make his first appearance at the federal courthouse in Columbia on Tuesday, according to a news release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Watson was indicted on attempted sex trafficking of children, attempted sex trafficking and seven counts of sex trafficking.

The indictment alleges Watson forced seven victims into prostitution from May 2016 through November 2019 during different time periods. Also, between January and February 2016, he attempted to force a victim into prostitution, the indictment states. During that same time period, he attempted to prostitute a minor, a teenaged girl, who he advertised on websites, according to the indictment.…

‘Peace Officer:’ How RCSD Transitioned From Warriors to Guardians

Deputies with Peace Officer patch

RCSD deputies donning uniforms retrofitted with the new “Peace Officer.”

The next time you see a Richland County deputy, you may notice something different on their uniforms.

To be specific — it’s their patch.

In addition to “Deputy Sheriff,” the patches on the uniforms and vests of the deputies will now say, “Peace Officer.”

On July 2, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced that the department had retrofitted all of the uniforms and vests of deputies with the new patch, culminating an effort to shift the department’s culture that started nearly a decade ago.

The groundbreaking initiative is the result of a partnership with Police2Peace, which started with adding decals to all of the department’s vehicles that read “Peace Officer.”…

‘Boogaloo’ Agitators of Columbia Riot Arrested

Joshua Barnard’s property

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced on June 4, 2020, the arrest of the man wearing the blue floral shirt that he sought to identify earlier in the week.

Joshua Barnard — 24 — was arrested on charges of breaking into a motor vehicle, looting, larceny, aggravated breach of peace and instigating a riot for his actions during the protest on Saturday, May 30.

Also, he was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute a schedule I substance. He was booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on June 4, 2020.

On June 12, Sheriff Lott announced Barnard had been arrested for a second time in as many weeks. This time, Barnard was charged with 11 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. He was booked into the jail the same day.…

2 arrested in connection with assault on passerby during Columbia riot

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook announce the arrest of two men in connection with the assault of an innocent bystander during the riot of May 30.

Trechaun Belton — 02/09/99 — was arrested on charges of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, instigating a riot and aggravated breach of peace. Also, a 16-year-old has been arrested on charges of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, instigating a riot and aggravated breach of peace.

On May 30, the employee of an area business walked out to assess the situation taking place in The Vista. The staffer was attempting to determine if it was safe for employees to come to work.
While attempting to make a phone call, agitators in the crowd began accusing him of attempting to call the police. …