Abbeville County Sheriff's Office
Age: 63 years
Service: 6 years
Constable Donald Ouzts and Sergeant Danny Wilson, of the Abbeville County Sheriff’s Office, were shot and killed by members of a family, a man, woman, and their son, upset that a small portion of their land was to be taken through eminent domain to widen a portion of Highway 72.
Sergeant Wilson had been informed that the residents had threatened to shoot anyone who came onto the property. As a result of the threat, Sergeant Wilson went to the Department of Transportation to warn the workers of the threat and to escort them to the home so he could talk with the residents.
Sergeant Wilson arrived at the scene first and as he got out of his patrol car, he was shot once in the upper side of his chest in an area not protected by his vest. The residents of the home then dragged him into the home, handcuffed him, and left him on the floor. When dispatchers were unable to reach Sergeant Wilson, more units were sent to the scene, including Constable Donnie Ouzts, of the Abbeville County Magistrate’s Office.
The responding deputies where unable to locate Sergeant Wilson and began discussing the situation. As Constable Ouzts talked to one of the deputies, he was shot in the back by one of the suspects in the house. A member of the South Carolina Highway Patrol and a member of the South Carolina Department of Probation and Parole, risked their lives to pull Constable Ouzts’ body from the front lawn where he had fallen. They were able to pull his body out of the line of fire and called for backup.
The suspects barricaded themselves in the home for 14 hours and exchanged hundreds of shots with the responding officers. One of the male suspects surrendered after 14 hours and was taken into custody. A robot was sent into the home and located the body of Sergeant Wilson approximately 10-feet inside the door with his hands handcuffed behind his back. A SWAT team entered the home and recovered his body. The other male suspect surrendered approximately 30 minutes later. Both were charged with murdering Sergeant Wilson and Constable Ouzts.
On February 18, 2007, the son was convicted of two counts of capital murder. He was subsequently sentenced to death. His mother was convicted of murder and sentenced to life. His father was found incompetent to stand trial and committed in a state mental institution where he died September 5, 2011. Six days later his mother died in prison.
Constable Ouzts had served with the Abbeville County Magistrate’s Office for 6 years. He is survived by his wife and two sons.