A man who led authorities on an hourlong search after allegedly firing a gun into the air on Monday was expected to be released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon following a mental evaluation, according to the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office.
The man, who is not being identified, will not face criminal charges.
The incident began about 2:15 p.m. at a home on New Holland Road in Wagener, police said. A family member of the man reportedly called police because the man was drunk and making threats of suicide.
When officers arrived, they found the man in a heated discussion with a family member, and he allegedly fired multiple shotgun rounds into the air.
Officers from the Sheriff’s Office SWAT team, the Wagener Police Department and the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division also responded. Lawmen assumed the man was still inside the home until they had enough manpower to search the home and other buildings on the property and found that he wasn’t inside.
The shotgun fired by the man was found outside one of the outbuildings, according to the report. Officers searched four outbuildings and two campers that were on the property.
The Aiken County Bloodhound Tracking Team was brought in to search for the man but the search was called off about 6:15 p.m.
According to the report, the man’s sister spoke with a probate judge and secured probate papers, on which the man was detained about 8 a.m. Tuesday, according to Capt. Troy Elwell.
“The evidence was presented to the probate judge,” Elwell said. “Based on that information, the probate judge felt it would be in the best interest of him to have him mentally evaluated.”
The man was taken to Aiken Regional Medical Centers and was expected to be released Tuesday afternoon, Elwell said.
He will not be charged because he didn’t aim the gun at anyone or threaten anyone. Additionally, he lives in the county, where it is legal to shoot a gun.
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime beat for the Aiken Standard. He is a graduate of Clemson University and hails from Williston.