UNION COUNTY — Three law enforcement agencies are investigating the death of a man wanted by North Carolina authorities who apparently fatally shot himself following a standoff with Union County Sheriff’s deputies.
In a statement released Tuesday morning, Union County Coroner William Holcombe announced that his office, the Union County Sheriff’s Office, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) are investigating the death of 56 year old Lancaster resident Lloyd Michael Dove.
Holcombe said that Dove was found in his vehicle on Monday evening by sheriff’s deputies on Jolly Drive off SC 49. He said that Dove was treated by Union County EMS and airlifted to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center where he died shortly after midnight Tuesday morning.
The press release states that an autopsy was scheduled to be performed on Dove’s body on Wednesday morning at Newberry Pathology Associates.
Union County Sheriff David Taylor also released a statement about Monday’s incident, saying that Dove, a resident of 140 Doster Road, Lancaster, South Carolina, had been wanted by the Monroe Police Department in North Carolina and had taken his own life after being stopped by deputies with his office.
Taylor said that Dove was driving a white 2006 Kia Sedona on SC 49 East near Jolly Drive when deputies initiated a traffic stop on him on Monday at approximately 7:51 p.m. He said that deputies were advised that Dove was occupying the vehicle and had been named as a suspect in multiple armed robberies in Monroe, NC.
“Major John Sherfield received a phone call from the Monroe Police Department that a suspect in multiple armed robberies was traveling towards Union County driving a white van,” Taylor said. “We were advised that the suspect was armed and dangerous and had robbed a drug store earlier that day.”
Taylor said that deputies were given this information along with a detailed description of the van and were told that it was possibly heading towards Lockhart. He said that a short time later two deputies were in the area of SC 49 when they met the suspect’s vehicle. Taylor said the deputies turned around to verify the vehicle by running its tag number and it came back registered to Dove. He said the two deputies waited for other deputies to arrive and then proceed to do a felony traffic stop.
Once this was done, Taylor said the van pulled over and the driver put it in park. Taylor said deputies got on their loud speaker and began giving Dove orders to show his hands. He said that Dove refused to comply with the commands given, so deputies repeated their orders for him to show his hands and exit the van, but once again got no response. After about three to five minutes of continuous calls for Dove to do as ordered and getting no response, Taylor said a drone with video capability was deployed.
Taylor said that the drone hovered near the driver’s side of the van enabling deputies to determine that Dove was severely injured. He said deputies then cautiously approached the van to find Dove suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
By that time Union County EMS had been called and were staging near the scene. Taylor said that once the weapon found in the van was secured by deputies, EMS personnel were able to go to the van, remove Dove from it, and then have him airlifted to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. He sad that Dove was pronounced dead there shortly after midnight Tuesday morning.
Since the shooting occurred during a traffic stop initiated by deputies, Taylor said he contacted SLED to investigate the case.
“No deputies ever discharged their service weapons or sustained injuries during the traffic stop,” Taylor said.
After Dove was airlifted to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, Taylor said investigators from the Monroe Police Department, SLED, and the SLED Crime Scene Unit arrived on the scene. Taylor said he spoke with Monroe Police Chief Brian Gilliard about what had happened during the traffic stop. He said Gilliard told him that Dove had committed four armed robberies at drugstores in Monroe in the last two weeks.
Dove, Taylor said, “was a convicted felon and could not legally possess a firearm.”
Taylor said that “SLED agents are continuing to work this case and all deputies followed Sheriff’s Office policy and no weapons were fired in this case.” He commended his deputies “on the safety and professionalism they demonstrated in this dangerous situation. The way they performed is how you go home to your family after a twelve-hour shift.”
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.