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Asbery Wylder,
Charleston, South Carolina
December 05, 2003

Agencies: South Carolina Law Enforcement Division SLED | North Charleston Police Department South Carolina

Last updated: over 2 years ago

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North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey is seeking a federal investigation into the police shooting of a suspected shoplifter.

Summey said he was unsure whether a federal probe is warranted, but he wants to make sure Friday's fatal shooting of Asberry Wylder is investigated vigorously.

The mayor's staff was drafting a letter late Monday to Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, D-S.C., asking for help in securing a U.S. Justice Department probe, The Post and Courier reported. A woman answering calls Tuesday at city hall, however, said offices were closed for Veterans Day and there would be no comment. It was unknown whether any letter had been finished or sent.

Wylder, 41, was shot to death Friday by officers responding to a call about a shoplifting suspect at a grocery store. Witnesses say there were six officers who pulled their guns when Wylder showed a knife.

At least one witness said Wylder was shot a second time after he was in handcuffs. A Charleston County deputy coroner said Wylder was shot once in the leg and once in the abdomen.

North Charleston Police Chief Jon Zumalt has denied witness reports, calling them "an absolute fabrication of what happened." The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating.

The mayor said the request for a federal probe is a "safety precaution" to eliminate suspicions that the city conspired to help clear the police officers involved in the incident.