South Carolina Traffic Stop Ends In Shootout

A routine traffic stop in Charleston County, South Carolina ended in a shootout that left a deputy wounded and a man dead. 

Deputy Evan Cubbage, 36, pulled a vehicle over on Sunday afternoon and opened the passenger door to see into the car because the windows were tinted. Cubbage also called for backup, and another deputy, Alexander Hodge, 34, responded.

Cubbage asked the passenger, James Pierce, 28, to step out of the vehicle, and he opened fire on both officers. Pierce was armed with a Glock handgun and hit Cubbage three times. Cubbage and Hodge returned fire. Pierce was pronounced dead at the scene, but Cubbage was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina Medical Center. His wounds were not life-threatening. Hodge was uninjured. He was released from the hospital five hours after the shooting. 

The driver, a woman who has not been identified, ran to the side of the road screaming during the shootout, and the deputies had to yell at her to come back to the car and lay on the ground. She was detained, but her name has not been released and she has not been charged. 

An investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, a state agency that helps with local investigations and functions as a watchdog on law enforcement, began immediately after the shootout, as did an internal investigation by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. Dashcam footage of the shootout has been released, but bodycam footage will not be until the state investigation is finished. Both deputies were also placed on paid administrative leave until the investigations concluded, all per normal protocol. 

“I am angered by the violence directed at those who lay their lives on the line daily to protect our citizens,” Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano said in a statement. “The deputies advanced training prevented us from having to bury one of our own. They acted appropriately and professionally under fire from a convicted felon who was illegally carrying a firearm. I am so thankful these deputies were able to return home to their families.”

The shootout was the eleventh shooting involving an officer in South Carolina in 2023 and the first for Charleston County. The county had just one officer-involved shooting last year.