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Orangeburg man pleads guilty to shooting police, other crimes

Once James was spotted by the officers, Wilson says he began firing at them with a stolen pistol.
Once James was spotted by the officers, Wilson says he began firing at them with a stolen pistol.(Storyblocks)
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 12:13 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - An Orangeburg man pleads guilty to several charges after shooting two police officers in 2017.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson says that Eugene Jonathon James, 23, of Orangeburg pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of attempted murder, one count of failure to stop for blue lights, one count of possession of a stolen pistol, one count of possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a violent felony, one count of possession of a stolen vehicle, value $2,000-$10,000, and one count of speeding between 15 and 25 mph over the speed limit.

The Attorney General’s office says that the incident with James began when two Cayce police officers attempted to stop James for speeding on Knox Abbott Drive in Cayce on May 27, 2017. Wilson says James was going 57 mph in a 35 mph zone, but fled from police and led officers on a chase until he ran into a dead end at Gist Street.

James then jumped out of the stolen car and ran down a footpath on the Riverwalk. Wilson says James jumped into the brush and waited in a ditch for the officers to approach. 

Once James was spotted by the officers, Wilson says he began firing at them with a stolen pistol. Wilson says both officers were able to return fire, but each received non-fatal gunshot wounds, before bringing James into custody.

Wilson said James received a negotiated 20-year sentence consecutive to the 10-year sentence he received from the federal government for unlawfully being in possession of a pistol. That means he’ll serve the 20-year state sentence and then the 10-year federal sentence. Judge Debra R. McCaslin sentenced James in the Lexington County Courthouse.

This case was investigated by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office says it was prosecuted by their own Heather S. Weiss.

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