Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Investigating Monday Afternoon Shooting

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a shooting that was reported late Monday afternoon near Westminster.

E-911/Communications received a call for service around 4:48pm from the Hasty Mart convenience store at 3109 West-Oak Highway in regards to a male who stated he had been shot.

Deputies from the Uniform Patrol Division, the Criminal Investigations Division along with paramedics and fire fighters responded to the scene.

Officers discovered a male that had been shot in the mid-section. The victim was flown by helicopter to the hospital.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Announces Completion of 2nd Leadership Camp

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and the School District of Oconee County concluded their 2nd Leadership Camp recently with a graduation ceremony on June 9th at the Law Enforcement Center in Walhalla.
30 students participated in the camp, which was held from June 6th through June 9th, along with deputies from the Sheriff’s Office, including the School Resource Officers, and School District officials. Among the activities the students participated in were hiking, fishing, basketball, zip lining and swimming as well as a visit to some of the athletic facilities at Clemson University. The students were taken on a tour of the Oconee County Rock Quarry and got to see some of the equipment in use.
Leadership and team building skills were a part of the camp as well as exercises in which volunteers had small group time with the students for better relationship building.
“The summer leadership camp is a great opportunity for some of our students to build healthy relationships and experience things that they would not normally be able to experience,” according to Dr. Michael Thorsland, Superintendent of Education for the School District of Oconee County. “The deputies that participate do a great job encouraging the students and helping them prepare to be successful in school the next year.”

“This is a great proactive activity that the Sheriff has implemented. We are thrilled with the partnership,” says Dr. Thorsland.

According to Lt. Mark Lyles, who is supervisor of the School Resource Officers with the Sheriff’s Office, the students who made up this year’s Leadership Camp were middle school age boys. They were identified by the School District as those who were having trouble in school with grades or may have had discipline issues that the volunteers thought they could help to address this summer to avoid potential problems in the future.

“I think things have gone very well and the students have been very receptive,” says Lt. Lyles as the camp was in session. “The students have told me and told the other officers how much they are having fun and we have had positive feedback from the parents and grandparents of the students who have participated.”

“The most rewarding thing for me is to see the students have fun and a good time and for them to know that law enforcement cares for them and to see their emotion as they build self-confidence,” continues Lt. Lyles.
Below are comments from some of the School Resource Officers with the Sheriff’s Office concerning the 2nd Leadership Camp:
Corporal Charles Mulwee, at-risk SRO, Elementary Schools: “This was my second leadership challenge camp. Last year we had Elementary aged boys and this year we had middle school age boys. By the third day of the camp you will start to see the young men come out of their shyness and start to step up and be vocal as a leader. It’s a very humbling experience. It continues to promote the sheriff’s vision of building partnerships to promote a safer community!”

Corporal Chris Roach, SRO, West-Oak High School: “This was my first year in working with the Leadership Camp. I had a blast at the camp, and I cannot wait to be able to do it next year. The camp has a great impact on everyone. It affects the students, staff, volunteers, as well as all of the supporters. The affect may not be seen on the students at the present moment, however it greatly increases the partnership and the relationship between the student and Law enforcement, the community, and society. The camp is not about one person, officer, volunteer, or even the Sheriff, it’s all about the students and the affect that we can make on the students to change their lives.”

Corporal Keith Brooks, SRO, Walhalla High School: “I feel that the students did see that we are there for them and we do care. All of us that helped with the camp showed we are willing to take time to show that being a leader even in simple things makes a difference. I feel that all the students that came did enjoy some part of the camp and learned a little about working together and having a good time.”

Here is a list of the individuals and sponsors who helped to make the 2nd Leadership Camp a success:

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office
School District of Oconee County
Oconee County Rock Quarry
The National Guard
Diamond T Promotions
Telsmith
Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative
Clemson University
Walhalla City Pool
Bountyland Quik Stop – Fishing Rods and Water
Wildwater – Jack Wise
Foster Farms
Shane Smith
Lamar Digby
Rick Crowe – The Bait Shop
Seneca location of Ingles
Seneca location of BI-LO
The Seneca Walmart
Richard Sanford and the Chauga Service Station – Ice Cream
Rhonda Morgan
Johnny Williams

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Two Upstate Men on Malicious Injury to Personal Property Charges

Chandler Jace Simpson

Chandler Jace Simpson

Cory Donovan Simpson

Cory Donovan Simpson

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested two men, one from Anderson and one from Westminster, on charges of Malicious Injury to Personal Property charges.

20 year old Chandler Jane Simpson of Canter Lane in Anderson and his brother, 23 year old Cory Donovan Simpson of Earles Grove Road in Westminster, were booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 1:03pm and 1:26pm respectively.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to the incident location on Carolina Landing Drive in Fair Play on June 4th and began an investigation regarding a case of vandalism that had occurred to the victim’s truck and to a building at Carolina Landing.

The responding officer observed the damage to the victim’s truck as well as damage to the building on the property, as well as damage that was observed to lawn equipment, tools, furniture and other items as well.

As the investigation continued and interviews conducted and evidence gathered, it was determined that the suspects has committed the damage to the property and building. Warrants were obtained against both suspects on Monday.

According to the arrest warrants, the damage to the property and truck is greater than $2,000.

Both Simpson’s were released from the Detention Center on personal recognizance bonds. Cory Simpson’s bond was $10,000 and Chandler Simpson’s bond was $2,130.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Salem Man and Woman in Recent Walmart Shoplifting and Fraudulent Return Case

Jerry Leon Gambrell, Jr.

Jerry Leon Gambrell, Jr.

Jessie Lynn McClellan

Jessie Lynn McClellan

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Salem man and woman in relation to a recent case involving a shoplifting and a fraudulent return that occurred at the Seneca area Walmart.

44 year old Jerry Leon Gambrell, Jr. and 25 year old Jessie Lynn McClellan, both of Quarter Mile Road, were booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 9:24am and 10:22am respectively today.

The Sheriff’s Office issued a press release seeking the public’s help on June 17th regarding a case in which a deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division spoke with an employee of the store located on Sandifer Boulevard in Seneca on June 16th. The employee told the deputy that a man and woman entered the store during the morning hours of June 6th and pushed a shopping cart of merchandise out of the store without paying for the items.

The man and woman then split the items into different shopping carts and then reentered the store separately and returned the merchandise for cash at customer service.

The total refund for all the items returned is $211.33.

Based upon information that the deputy received as the investigation continued, warrants against Gambrell, Jr. and McClellan were obtained yesterday.

As of 2:30pm today, both Gambrell, Jr. and McClellan remain in custody at the Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing on their charges.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Seneca Man on Possession of a Stolen Vehicle Charges

Michael Andrew Poole, Sr.

Michael Andrew Poole, Sr.

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Seneca man yesterday on charges of Possession of a Stolen Vehicle.

45 year old Michael Andrew Poole, Sr. of Owens Road was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 11:45pm.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division on routine patrol on Wells Highway observed a vehicle traveling with a broken rear tail light. The deputy initiated a traffic stop on the white 2004 Toyota Tacoma pickup on Wells Highway near Cross Creek Drive.

As the traffic stop was being conducted, dispatch advised the deputy that the vehicle that Poole Sr. was driving was reported stolen out of Anderson County. The deputy spoke to the victim and was advised that permission was never given for Poole, Sr. to take the vehicle. The vehicle was towed away from the scene of the traffic stop.

Poole, Sr. was arrested and transported to the Oconee County Detention Center, where he was booked in on a Temporary Custody Order until the arrest warrant was obtained today.

An inventory of the vehicle also produced drug paraphernalia and Poole, Sr. was issued a traffic ticket on Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charges.

According to the arrest warrant, the truck was reported stolen by the victim yesterday. The vehicle has a value of around $3,300.00.

Poole remains in custody at the Detention Center awaiting an afternoon bond hearing.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Seeks the Public’s Help Regarding Recent Walmart Larceny

June 15th Walmart Larceny Picture One

June 15th Walmart Larceny Picture Two

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s regarding a recent Seneca area Walmart larceny case and also in identifying a male in relation to the case.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division spoke with an employee of the store, located on Sandifer Boulevard in Seneca, on June 15th in regards to a larceny of money. According to the employee, a Hispanic male went to a checkout line with a male juvenile and asked to get $700.00 dollars in quarters.

Once the cashier was counting out the money, the individual changed his mind and asked for different amounts and continued to do that for a few minutes. Each time, the male would gather the money and recount it.

The cashier’s drawer came up short after being counted after the transactions took place.

If you have any information on this June 15th larceny at the Seneca Walmart and/or the identity of the individual in relation to this incident, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or 864-638-STOP. You don’t have to give your name when you contact Crime Stoppers and all information given is confidential. If your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests a Seneca Man and Woman on Multiple Charges

Cynthia Lynn Winston

Cynthia Lynn Winston

Gregory Matthew Pearson

Gregory Matthew Pearson

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Seneca man and woman late last night on multiple charges related to an incident that occurred at Friendship Recreational Area near Townville.

38 year old Cynthia Lynn Winston of Timberlake Drive and 26 year old Gregory Matthew Pearson of Shiloh Road were booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 10:47pm yesterday and 12:55am today respectively.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to Coneross Creek Road yesterday evening in regards to reports of a male who had inappriately touched minor females and a woman who exposed her breasts at the swimming and recreation area.

Dispatch had informed the deputy that the individuals had left in a Chevrolet SUV and the deputy observed the vehicle matching that description near the incident location and initiated a traffic stop. The deputy located both Winston, the driver, and Pearson, a passenger, inside the vehicle and then began an investigation with both subjects at the traffic stop.

A second Uniform Patrol Deputy responded to the incident location at the Friendship Recreation Area and spoke with witnesses at the scene. The deputy was informed that Winston and Pearson were engaged in sexual activity in view of the children and that both were making sexually oriented comments to minors nearby and that Pearson had inappropriately touched two minor females and made inappropriate comments to them. Also, Winston reportedly kissed a minor male on the back of the neck and a few moments later, Winston pulled down her bathing suit top, exposing her breasts.

Based on the evidence, deputies placed Winston and Pearson under arrest for Public Disorderly Conduct and both were taken to the Oconee County Detention Center, where they were placed on a Temporary Custody Order until warrants could be obtained today. Also, Sgt. Tim Rice, the Child/Elder Abuse Investigator was notified responded to the scene and the case was turned over to him for further investigation.

In warrants that were obtained today by Sgt Rice, Winston has been charged with one count of Indecent Exposure, two counts of Criminal Solicitation of a Minor and one count of Assault and Battery – 3rd Degree. Pearson has been charged with two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor – 3rd Degree and two counts of Criminal Solicitation of a Minor.

Winston and Pearson remain in custody at the Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing this afternoon.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Seeks the Public’s Help Regarding Recent Walmart Shoplifting and Fraudulent Return Case

June 6th Walmart Case Picture One

June 6th Walmart Case Picture Two

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in regards to a recent case involving a shoplifting and a fraudulent return that occurred recently at the Seneca area Walmart.

The Sheriff’s Office is also seeking the public’s help in identifying a man and a woman in relation to the case

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division spoke with an employee of the store located on Sandifer Boulevard in Seneca on June 16th. The employee told the deputy that the man and woman entered the store during the morning hours of June 6th and pushed a shopping cart of merchandise out of the store without paying for the items.

The man and woman then split the items into different shopping carts and then reentered the store separately and returned the merchandise for cash at customer service.

The total refund for all the items returned is $211.33.

If you have any information on this June 6th shoplifting and fraudulent return case at the Seneca Walmart and/or the identity of the two individuals in relation to this case, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or 864-638-STOP. You don’t have to give your name when you contact Crime Stoppers and all information given is confidential. If your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward.

12th Annual S.C. Apple Festival Car Show Set for September 10th

Car Show Flyer - 2016_Page_1

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————Crime Stoppers of Oconee County, Inc. and the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone that the 12th Annual S.C. Apple Festival Car Show, to benefit Crime Stoppers of Oconee County, Inc., is now set for Saturday, September 10th.

The Car Show will be located on East Main Street in Westminster besides Hardee’s, with registration from 9am until Noon. Judging will be held starting at Noon and prizes will be awarded starting at 2pm. Door prizes will also be available as well.

The registration fee is $20, with vendor spaces also available at $20 as well.

The Car Show will include motorcycles and 4 x 4 Wheel Drive vehicles.

For more information, contact Larry Dellinger at 864-647-5487.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Walhalla Man on Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor Charges

Isai Vazquez

Isai Vazquez

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Walhalla man yesterday afternoon on charges of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor.

21 year old Isai Vazquez of Verner Street was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center yesterday around 3:18pm on a Temporary Custody Order.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division received a phone call on April 15th regarding a reported sexual assault that had occurred at an address in the Westminster area. The deputy responded to the scene and spoke with the complainant, who stated that Vazquez had inappropriately touched a minor female, who is 10 years old. The incident involved only one victim.

The case was turned over to the Criminal Investigations Division and Sgt. Tim Rice, the Child/Elder Abuse Investigator for the Sheriff’s Office.

As the investigation continued and evidence was gathered and interviews conducted, Sgt. Rice determined that there was probable cause to obtain a warrant against Vazquez, which was obtained today, which charges Vazquez with Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor – Third Degree.

Vazquez remains at the Oconee County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing this afternoon.

Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor – Third Degree is a felony with a penalty of not more than 15 years in prison and/or a fine with the amount at the discretion of the court.