Corporal Lucas Watts, Gregory Wayne Maxwell : “Oconee County Plans to Install Bulletproof Glass in Patrol Vehicles After Deputy Shooting”

Death – Obituary – Accident and Crime News : Oconee County, located in northwestern South Carolina, is taking measures to enhance the safety of its law enforcement officers following a tragic incident involving a sheriff’s deputy. Corporal Lucas Watts, 27, was shot in the head during a traffic stop that escalated into a pursuit on November 16 in Fair Play, South Carolina. The suspect, identified as Gregory Wayne Maxwell, allegedly fired at Watts’ vehicle, hitting the windshield and causing a severe head injury.

In response to this incident, Oconee County officials have announced their plans to install bulletproof glass in patrol vehicles throughout the county, including those used by municipalities. This initiative is estimated to cost around $500,000, according to County Council chair Matthew Durham. The primary objective is to provide a safer working environment for the dedicated men and women who risk their lives to protect the community.

The significance of this investment is heightened by the critical condition of Corporal Watts. He has lost his right eye due to the injury, with the remaining eye showing signs of progress. Watts has recently been taken off a ventilator and is expected to be transferred to the renowned Shepherd Center in Atlanta, which specializes in treating brain and spinal cord injuries.

The incident involving Watts was not the only one that day, as another deputy narrowly escaped injury when his windshield was also hit by gunfire. Fortunately, he managed to evade harm by leaning out of the vehicle and returning fire at the suspect. Maxwell, the alleged shooter, sustained injuries, although specific details have not been disclosed. He now faces multiple charges related to the shooting.

The implementation of bulletproof windshields has been a topic of consideration in Oconee County for some time. Two years ago, a similar incident occurred, prompting research into this safety measure. However, no proposal was made at that time. County Council chair Durham expressed regret over the delay, acknowledging the potential benefits such an investment could have had in preventing or mitigating such incidents.

To fund Corporal Watts’ recovery and support his family, a fundraising campaign was launched on the Serve and Protect website. The initial goal of $175,000 has been surpassed, thanks to the generosity of the community. Additionally, the Pickens Police Department and the Market at the Mill are organizing a bluegrass benefit concert on December 19 to further contribute to the cause.

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw spoke passionately during a church service, attributing Watts’ miraculous recovery to divine intervention and the power of prayer. Despite the ups and downs of the recovery process, Watts’ family remains hopeful and steadfast in their faith, understanding that setbacks are part of the journey towards healing.

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