Deputies Matuskovic, Ackerman honored by Elks Lodge

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Two deputies involved in a fatal shootout last year at a West Ashley apartment complex were honored with the Order of the Elk by the local Elks Lodge on Monday.

Deps. Michael Ackerman and Joe Matuskovic were honored for sacrificing themselves in the line of duty. Matuskovic's parents received the award on their son's behalf.

The awards were presented by Elks President James Davis.

"This year's recipients, Deputy Michael Ackerman and Joseph Matuskovic, who paid the ultimate price are the heroes of our society and along with other law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line each and every day. This is truly an honor to present this most prestigious award to the family of Joe and to Michael," said Davis.

According to the SLED report, Matuskovic and his colleagues, including Deputy Michael Ackerman, responded to complaints about Michael Oswald at his West Ashley apartment complex. They planned to arrest Oswald for third-degree assault and disorderly conduct.

The deadly encounter started with a knock on Oswald's door, per Ackerman's written statement included in the report. Officers identified themselves as Charleston County deputies. Ackerman said Matuskovic then used a property manager's key to unlock the apartment door. It got caught in the latch and only opened a few inches.

Oswald asked who was there from the inside of his apartment.

Ackerman said his partner Matuskovic answered they were there from the sheriff's office and asked Oswald to come outside to discuss what happened.

"Suddenly, rapid fire of what appeared to me to be some sort of semi-automatic weapon was coming from the apartment. Rounds were going through the door and wall," Ackerman stated. "Almost instantly, I saw Deputy Matuskovic get hit in the chest. He never had the opportunity to retrieve his service weapon."

Deputies said the gunfire was swift and rapid; there was a pause and then Deputy David Johnson said more rounds started. He said he "recalled seeing a puff emit from Matuskovic's body armor."

Ackerman said he continued shooting at their assailant from the ground.

An officer who later came to the scene said he found Deputy Ackerman shot in the leg but refusing to leave the spot where his partner got hit. The officer said he had to force Ackerman to leave against his will.

"I told him again that he needed to leave. He still refused," the deputy wrote.

Eventually, deputies carried Ackerman to safety so he could get medical treatment for a gunshot wound in the leg.

Afterward, investigators found a small arsenal in the shooter's apartment, including cartridge cases, bullets, a knife and a handgun.

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