NEWBERRY COUNTY — A Winnsboro man hoping to reconcile with his ex-girlfriend is in jail after breaking into the woman’s home early Wednesday morning and firing at officers who were attempting to subdue him.
Morris Ray Peters, 48, of 112 Delilah Lane, will be charged with one count of burglary and three counts of attempted murder in connection with the incident that began around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday at 169 Chaplin Park Drive.
No bond hearing has been scheduled.
“Only by the grace of God were none of the officers or the suspect injured or killed,” Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said. “I simply cannot say enough about the heroic actions of the deputies and investigators who handled this incident. They are to be commended for their actions and am so thankful that all returned home safely to their families.”
According to the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, the mother of the ex-girlfriend called law enforcement after her daughter called her. The mother reported that she could tell from the woman’s voice that something was wrong.
When deputies arrived, the victim met them at the door and they were able to escort her safely outside. She told the deputies that her ex-boyfriend — Peters — had broken into her home and was waiting on her when she got home from work. She told them that he was demanding that they reconcile.
According to the sheriff’s office, the victim has filed a no trespassing notice against Peters, barring him from the property.
When deputies entered the home, Peters met them with a .22-caliber rifle under his chin threatening to commit suicide.
The deputies, who were joined by investigators and members of the Critical Incident Response Team, began talking with Peters. After negotiating with him for about 2½ hours, they were able to get Peters to remove the gun from under his chin, but not surrender it.
As negations continued, Peters became increasingly hostile toward himself and the officers.
Meanwhile, CIRT officers were attempting to get close enough to use a Taser on the subject. When they were unable to get into position, it was decided to use a bean bag round. When Peters was staggered by the round, the officers approached him with a ballistic shield.
As the officers approached, Peters was able to regain his balance and fire one shot at the officers. The round hit the ballistic shield the officers were carrying and was deflected.He was taken into custody after a brief struggle. No one was injured in the incident.
The victim reported that there is a history of domestic problems that led to her filing the no trespass notice on the subject to keep him away from her home. There were no law enforcement reports in Newberry County found other than an escort for the subject to retrieve his property from that residence on Sept. 16, 2013. According to the sheriff’s office, Peters has a history of alcohol related arrests including driving under the influence and open container.
Foster said that responding to domestic disputes are some of the most dangerous situations law enforcement officers can face. He also pointed to the specialty equipment needed to handle such situations.
“This could have had a significantly different outcome if not for the CIRT team, the less than lethal weapon, and the ballistic shield,” he said. “These are almost mandatory tools into today’s world.”