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Attorneys: No evidence Bryant Heyward pointed gun at deputies

HOLLYWOOD, S.C. (WCIV) -- A 26-year-old man shot at his home by a Charleston County Sheriff's deputy responding to reports of a break-in Thursday told an investigator in the ambulance ride to the hospital that he should have put down his gun.

"I should have put the gun down but I didn't," Bryant Heyward told the detective inside the ambulance. "He thought I was the crook and shot."

A day later, attorneys retained by Bryant Heyward's family said their client's statement inside the ambulance show the quality of character he has by not wanting to blame anyone but ultimately, they said, his statement doesn't prove it was a justified shooting.

"His words aren't law or affecting this case whatsoever," Attorney Chris Stewart said.{}

Heyward was shot by a deputy Thursday morning after he called 911 and begged dispatchers to send help because two men with a gun were trying to break into his house. When deputies arrived authorities say the suspects were gone but they found Heyward in the backyard with a gun and told him to drop the gun. Authorities say a deputy shot Howard when he refused to drop the gun.

Stewart and fellow attorney Justin Bamberg said their client had every right to have a gun on his property, especially when two people were trying to break into his home and fired shots at him. They said there is no evidence Heyward pointed the gun at the deputy.

"It's a problem because a young man may never be able to walk again," Stewart said. "He's in the hospital right now unable to speak and may not be able to ever walk again."

The attorneys questioned why Sheriff Al Cannon chose to release the conversation from the ambulance but not audio from the body mic the deputy was wearing that might give some indication whether the deputy tried to identify his target and how much time he gave him to drop the gun before pulling the trigger.

"Quite frankly it is very very important that everyone remember this: While you are in your home you are entitled to defend yourself," Bamberg said.

Heyward said he called 911 because two men were trying to pry into his window. He said he called his brother and told him what was happening. His brother told him to go into his room for protection, which is where Heyward found the gun.

Heyward said one of the suspects fired at him first, for a total of two times. Heyward said he fired back twice.

"I didn't want to shoot but I had to," he said.{}

Authorities say the two suspects fled on bikes and Heyward ran out into the yard, which is when he came face-to-face with the deputy. {}

During the ambulance trip Heyward said the shooting was an accident.

"The officer did it but it was an accident. He didn't know who I was. He saw the gun," Heyward said.{}Hollywood Mayor Jacquelyn Heyward said the shooting pierced the heart of the community. She said the family is perplexed to see Howard fighting for his life since he was the victim."When you make the call and you end up being the victim it's a very hard pill to swallow," Heyward said. {}Heyward has spoke to the family and said they appreciate how the sheriff's office is responding to it.{}She said the shooting solidifies the need for body cameras.{}

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