Former mayor's best friend demands explanation in shooting death

COTTAGEVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) - Former Cottageville Mayor, Bert Reeves died Monday. He was shot once at close range by Cottageville police officer, Randall Price. Still awaiting answers, Reeves' family and friends say they deserve an explanation.

Police say Price had an argument with Reeves and officer Price was injured, but there's still no word why Price fired the fatal shot.

Reeves' lifelong friend, Matthew Free, said he's been kept up at night, wondering why his friend died.

"It's been shocking, tough to sleep at night," he said. "There's been sadness of course."

Free grew up with Reeves in Cottageville, he saw him often and talked to him daily, up until his death.

"It just seems like something's missing, we need more answers to figure out what really happened," Free said.

Price has been on paid leave since Monday's shooting. According to police documents, Price has had issues before. He's worked for seven agencies in 11 years. Records show he has been terminated in the past for using excessive force.

"Because of his history it equates to an even deeper investigation into what happened with Bert," Free said. "He's a trained officer, he could have fired somewhere else beside his chest."

Price's current boss, Cottageville Police Chief John Craddock, speaks highly of him.

"I've had no problems with him and his job performance," Craddock said. "He's been an outstanding officer for the town."

Free said he does not know officer Price. He claims Reeves was not armed when he was shot.

"If I put myself in the officer's shoes, if I was getting in a fight, maybe losing that fight, you know, you lose a fight. You don't resort to deadly force," Free said.

At this time, no charges have been filed against Randall Price. Price has not commented on the incident.

Reeves was mayor of Cottageville until 2006. According to Matthew Free, Reeves left the job because of political pressure.