Deputy back on duty after shooting man

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

COUNTY — The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office deputy who shot a burglary suspect last month has returned to duty.

According to a news release from chief deputy Creed Hashe, sheriff Rick Clark returned deputy Michael McClatchy to full active duty last Wednesday following completion of an internal review.

The shooting occurred at a home on Latham Road in Easley on Sunday, June 26.

According to the release, McClatchy arrived at the home within 12 minutes after a 911 call reporting a suspicious male walking around homes on Latham Road.

The sheriff’s office then received another 911 call from a “frightened and upset homeowner” who said that an unknown male was knocking on her doors and windows and attempting to pry open windows, according to the release.

The man then broke through a rear door, the release said. The homeowner hid inside a bathroom while staying on the line with the 911 operator.

McClatchy then responded to the home, arriving within minutes of the second 911 call.

The dispatcher told the deputy that the man was still inside the residence, not far from where the homeowner was hiding.

The homeowner told the dispatcher she believed the man was removing weapons from the home’s gun safe.

According to the release, McClatchy saw evidence of forced entry at the rear entrance of the home and also saw “numerous weapons” placed at that entry point.

McClatchy then entered the home, locating the suspect, later identified as Franklin Reed Styles, 18, inside the home.

According to the release, Styles was allegedly armed, holding a rifle in one hand and a handgun in the other.

McClatchy gave Styles verbal commands to put down the weapons, the release said. The suspect then allegedly pointed the handgun at the deputy, who then discharged his own weapon, according to police.

Styles was struck at least once. He was being treated at a local hospital, Hashe said last week. Once released, he will be transported to the Pickens County Detention Center, where he will be detained on multiple charges, including first-degree burglary and pointing and presenting a firearm.

Following the shooting, Clark directed his agency’s internal affairs unit, the Office of Professional Standards, to investigate the incident.

McClatchy was placed on administrative leave with pay during the investigation.

That investigation was independent of the ongoing criminal investigation of the incident by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the release said.

Clark reviewed the investigation’s findings last week before ordering McClatchy to be returned to duty.

“I concur with the findings that Deputy Mike McClatchy was justified and within policy in his decision to discharge his service weapon for the protection of his own life,” Clark said in the release. “Furthermore, the deputy should be commended, for he made the decision to enter the residence without backup, knowing that an intruder was inside. He made this decision out of concern for the safety of the female homeowner.

“Deputy McClatchy’s quick response and decisions under extreme pressure may very well have saved an innocent victim’s life.”

According to a release from SLED after it began its own investigation, the incident was the 24th officer-involved shooting in South Carolina in 2016 and the first this year involving a Pickens County deputy. In 2015, there were 48 officer-involved shootings in South Carolina. None of those involved the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office.