Social media helped alert cops to Aiken County hostage situation
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - A suspect’s Facebook Live of a hostage situation ultimately led to his capture after a shoot-out with officers in Aiken County, authorities said.
The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office shared information today with News 12 about what led up to the confrontation that shut down Jefferson Davis Highway near Interstate 520 late Wednesday.
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Suspect Nate Meade, 42, is in Richmond County jail after suffering at least five gunshot wounds in the Aiken County shoot-out.
He was charged Thursday morning with pointing and presenting a firearm at law enforcement, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
After he was taken into custody around 1:26 a.m., he was sent to Augusta University Medical Center for treatment. Then he was taken to jail in Richmond County, where he awaits extradition or transfer to Aiken County, across the state line.
According to Aiken County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Eric Abdullah, they obtained an arrest warrant for aggravated breach of peace.
On Thursday morning, the highway had reopened. At the scene, patrol units from the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office were being loaded onto the back of a tow truck.
What led up to the confrontation?
Abdullah told us the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office got involved in the incident because apparently, it had already been in progress.
“When we got a call from a family member on Winthrop around 7:50 last night, they reported seeing Mr. Meade and our victim,” he said. “It looked like she was being held against her will.”
Abdullah said the Aiken Department of Public Safety was in the area trying to assist, as well, when deputies got a notification about the Facebook Live video.
“So while the video was going on, we were doing everything we could to figure out and determine their location so we could vet this and see if it was real or not,” he said. “Based on the information we had, we were going with that, this was a crime in progress. While we’re contacting multiple agencies, we’re trying to figure out and see if we can find his black Cadillac.”
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He said his agency eventually got a 911 call around 9:36 p.m. from a car dealership seeing a man and a woman looking like they were fighting in a vehicle.
Units were already in the area and got there quickly, Abdullah said.
Deputies were able to identify Meade as who they were looking for.
“At about 10:06, during this standoff, it was reported shots were fired from a suspect vehicle,” Abdullah said.
“Officers did return fire. At that time, we didn’t know if he had been struck. We didn’t know if anyone had been injured from gunfire.”
About 10:10 p.m., the victim ran to officers unharmed.
“Our main concern was to get that hostage back safe,” he said.
Abdullah says the hostage and Meade “had an acquaintance relationship.”
She was in a relationship with his brother, and she picked them up at the Publix in North Augusta, which is where it all began.
Officers who returned fire were from the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, North Augusta Department of Public Safety, and South Carolina Highway Patrol, according to authorities.
All of those agencies plus the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division are involved in the investigation.
SLED conducts law enforcement officer-involved shooting investigations at the request of the agency involved in the incident or the agency with jurisdiction.
The incident in Aiken County was the 11th officer-involved shooting in South Carolina in 2022. This is the second officer-involved shooting involving the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office this year. This is the first officer-involved shooting involving North Augusta Public Safety and the South Carolina Highway Patrol this year.
In 2021, there were 40 officer-involved shootings in South Carolina. There were two officer-involved shootings involving the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, one involving North Augusta Public Safety, and one involving the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
Photo gallery | the aftermath
Meade has faced charges before, including:
- 6/1997 - Trespassing
- 1/1998 - Giving false information
- 1/1998 - DUI
- 2/1998 - Receiving stolen goods less than $100
- 11/1999 - DUI
- 11/1999 - Assault and battery
- 12/1999 - Possession of stolen tag
- 12/1999 - DUI
- 3/2000 - DUI
- 8/2000 - Disorderly conduct
- 11/2001 - Drugs near a school
- 6/2003 - Second-degree burglary
- 11/2012 - Criminal domestic violence
- 12/2012 - Disorderly conduct
- 12/2021 - Larceny
- 12/2021 - Receiving stolen goods
- 12/2021 - Distribution of crack cocaine
- 2/2022 - Trafficking meth
CSRA crime surge
The hostage situation took place as the CSRA is seeing a surge in violent crime that until Wednesday night hadn’t spilled into Aiken County.
Most of the violence has been in Augusta, which saw five homicide victims in six days – four of the victims of shootings. Sandersville also saw a fatal shooting over the weekend.
The violence has Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree saying decisive action is being taken to cut down on the violence.
Still, even after his statement Tuesday afternoon, Augusta saw two shootings within eyesight of one another. On Tuesday night, someone shot up a Chevron station at 202 East Boundary, then on Wednesday night, a man was injured in a shooting outside Paul’s Supermarket, Greene St.
Here’s a look at deadly violence in the CSRA in the past week:
- A dead female was found just before noon Tuesday outside a vacant home in the 1500 block of Conklin Lane. The death was considered suspicious from the start, but the coroner ruled Tuesday that the death was the result of a homicide. The victim was identified Wednesday as Brittany Kristina Dougherty, 29, of Augusta,
- Jenefer Holt Herron, 52, of Augusta, died late Monday after being shot during an argument outside the Circle K at 1739 Walton Way. The shooter fled in a gray sport utility vehicle, but suspect Yelena Buckner, 33, of Augusta, was later found and arrested on charges of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, deputies reported.
- At 7:23 a.m. Monday, deputies were called to the 1900 block of Old Savannah Road, where a passing motorist found Johnnie Coleman, 72, of Augusta, who’d been shot dead.
- JaJuan Russell, 21, of the 700 block of East Chapman Street, was fatally shot early Sunday in the 3700 block of Oslo Road. Russell was taken to Augusta University Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at 1:14 a.m. An autopsy was scheduled with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
- Sandersville police found the body of a man Saturday afternoon inside a home on Gwendolyn Street while responding to a report of a domestic dispute at the address. Santavious Louis Roberts, 35, of Sandersville, has been arrested.
- Brandon Peebles, 24, of Girard, was shot around 10:45 p.m. last Thursday in the 2300 block of Prague Court, the same neighborhood as Sunday’s shooting. He was pronounced dead at 11:23 p.m. Bowen said the victim’s body was sent to the GBI.
Here’s a look at other violent crimes:
- Shooting just before 6 a.m. Wednesday injured a man in the 400 block of Treadwell Street in Orangeburg. Police are asking for information from anyone with information about the crime.
- On Easter Sunday, two youths at Augusta’s Diamond Lakes Community Park were confronted, and gunshots were fired at them. The assailants fled, but authorities later arrested Xaviar Grinage, 25; Treyvion Grinage, 18; and Charles Grinage, 28.
- On Friday, James Wesley Harn Jr., 67, shot his son, James Alexander Harn, 40, in the back with a crossbow in the 2300 block of Dorn Road in Augusta, according to deputies. The father then barricaded himself in the residence, deputies said. Deputies were able to take him into custody without further incident.
- A shooting injured one person on April 7 in the 500 block of Broad Street in Augusta. The victim, a 27-year-old woman, was found lying on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound to her lower abdomen. Desmond Swearinger, 27, was identified by deputies as a suspect.
- Just before 3 a.m. April 10, two people were shot at Broad and 10th streets in Augusta. The victim suffered a gunshot wound to the neck and was taken to a hospital in critical condition. A second victim drove himself to a hospital and was stable.
- Also on April 10, vehicle-to-vehicle gunshots were fired on Washington Road near Alexander Drive in Augusta. No one was reported injured.
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