Earlier today, an attorney representing assault suspect Sir Brandon Legette conducted a news conference, which was carried live by local news outlets. The news conference addressed an August 2019 Columbia Police Department (CPD) officer-involved shooting incident. Based on the facts of this case and given the current climate of our country, the narrative provided during that press conference was inaccurate, incomplete, and irresponsible.
Mr. Legette has multiple criminal charges that are still pending, and the Columbia Police Department respects Mr. Legette’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair and impartial trial. For that reason, and that reason alone, the department must limit its comments and allow the criminal process to conclude. However, it is imperative the media and the public are provided accurate information.
As previously stated in earlier news releases, shortly before 3:00 a.m. on August 24, 2019, Officer Sean Rollins was on patrol in the Broad River Road area. He initiated a traffic stop on a Dodge SUV at the Food Lion parking lot located at 1013 Broad River Road. An additional CPD officer, along with a Richland County Sheriff’s Department deputy, were also on scene. The entire incident was captured by officers’ body worn cameras and Officer Rollins’ in-car camera.
Officer Rollins made repeated requests for Legette to exit his vehicle. As Officer Rollins attempted to remove Legette, there was a struggle which resulted in Legette pulling Officer Rollins further into the vehicle. Legette then drove away at a high rate of speed with Officer Rollins still hanging partially outside of the vehicle. Moments later, Legette drove down a steep embankment as Officer Rollins pleaded with him to stop the vehicle. Legette eventually crashed the vehicle with such force that the air bags were deployed.
Officer Rollins continued to struggle to secure Legette after the crash. During that struggle Officer Rollins fired his department-issued weapon, striking Legette in the head. Back-up officers traversed down the embankment, secured Legette and rendered aid to Legette and Officer Rollins. Both were treated at a hospital for injuries sustained from the incident.
Officer Rollins was released from the hospital on August 24, 2019. Legette was released on September 3, 2019 and transported to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center (ASGDC).
It is important to note the following:
- Legette acknowledged possessing the firearm that officers located on the driver’s side floorboard of his vehicle.
- The firearm was reported stolen from Ninety-Six, South Carolina in a 2017 burglary.
- Based on the August 2019 incident, Legette was charged with Assault and Battery of a Highand Aggravated Nature, Possession of a Stolen Pistol, Driving Under Suspension, Operating Vehicle without Insurance, Use of Another Vehicle’s License Plate.
- At the time of this incident, Legette was out on bond for an unrelated 2018 charge of Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Natureand Unlawful Neglect of a Child
- Also at the time of this incident, Legette had two outstanding arrest warrants for Burglary, 2nd Degree and Petit Larceny stemming from a 2018 incident.
CPD’s unedited videos show the events that occurred early that morning. The videos begin with the initial traffic stop and show the officer’s numerous requests for Legette to get out of the vehicle, the struggle with Legette, and the moments when Officer Rollins fought for his life as Legette recklessly sped away with Officer Rollins trapped in the vehicle.
Chief W. H. “Skip” Holbrook says, “The Columbia Police Department understands and acknowledges the current distrust some feel with law enforcement and is committed to continued accountability, transparency, and growth through community partnerships. We stand at a defining moment in history and each of us must work through meaningful and thoughtful processes to effect positive change and reform. We cannot do this if individuals choose to misrepresent facts and provide false narratives in an effort to divide our community. As citizens, we should all demand more.”