PCSO: Officer narrowly avoids point-blank shot

LIBERTY — A Pickens County Warrants Officer barely escaped being shot at point-blank range on Monday, after he was confronted by a man at the M-Mart on U.S. 178 between Pickens and Liberty.

Pickens Assistant Sheriff Tim Morgan told the Courier on Tuesday that Trenton James Black, 28, of 1007 Saluda Dam Road in Easley, was arrested after attempting to shoot an officer in plain clothes at the convenience store.

According to Morgan, the officer had stopped to shop at the store when he saw Black ride up on a motorcycle. Being a warrants officer with the PCSO, he immediately identified the man as having outstanding warrants.

Morgan said that the man recognized the officer and struck him with a motorcycle helmet, then pulled a weapon and pointed it at the officer’s head. The officer’s quick thinking and reflexes were the only things that saved his life, Morgan said.

“The officer slapped the gun to the side just before it discharged,” he said.
During the process, the officer received a gash in the webbing of his hand at his thumb. The man fired a second round as the two men grappled with the injured officer attempting to get the gun away from his assailant. No one was injured.

A truck driver at the scene assisted the officer in subduing the man until back-up arrived, Morgan said.

“The deputy did an outstanding job during an extremely adverse, dynamic, life-threatening situation,” Morgan said. “I am very proud to be associated with officers of this caliber, because his dedication to duty is beyond measure.”

Morgan also gave a special thank you to the bystanders who helped keep the situation from turning deadly.

“I also want to specially commend the efforts of the citizens who assisted our officer,” he said. “We serve to protect the citizens, and yesterday the citizens helped protect a deputy. The Sheriff’s Office is very appreciative of their efforts.”

Morgan said that as of press time Black has been charged with attempted murder, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, possession of stolen goods, resisting arrest, possession of a firearm during a violent crime and possession of firearm after being convicted of a violent crime. Morgan said that more charges could be filed.

Black is being held at the Pickens County Law Enforcement Center. The incident is still being investigated by the PCSO.