Berkeley County deputy shot Friday 'in good spirits,' expected to recover, sheriff says

Deputy Cody Gooch - Calvin L. Middleton III (Berkeley County Sheriff's Office)

Berkeley County Sheriff' Duane Lewis says one of his deputies is in good spirits and expected to make a full recovery after being shot in the line of duty Friday morning.

According to Sheriff Lewis, Deputy Cody Gooch was one of three deputies responding to the St. Stephen area around 5:30 a.m. Friday in reference to a "life threatening" domestic disturbance.

Deputies were advised that the suspect, identified as Calvin L. Middleton III, had left a home on Pine Tree Drive after a physical altercation with his wife.

Lewis says Gooch and the other two deputies tried to stop the vehicle Middleton was driving nearby on Imperial Drive. That's when Sheriff Lewis says the suspect opened the door of the vehicle and began firing a handgun at deputies.

Gooch, 28, was struck by bullets. He and other deputies returned fire, and Middleton also was shot several times. Neither of the other two responding deputies were hit by bullets, according to Lewis.

Gooch is recovering at Trident Hospital in North Charleston, the sheriff says. He has been with the sheriff's office since 2015, starting out working at the Hill Finklea Detention Center before being promoted to uniformed patrol.

"We're just thankful that he is recovering," Lewis said in a press conference at Trident Friday morning. "This is going to be a long road. ... We're living in a violent society, I think more than ever before. These deputies are out there doing their job protecting the people of Berkeley County. Unfortunately, we have to expect these things sometimes."

Lewis says Gooch despite his injuries is in "good spirits" and talking, surrounded by family and friends at the hospital. Lewis says Gooch even asked Friday morning if he would still be able to take a previously scheduled test next week for a promotion to the rank of corporal.

"That's the kind of things he's talking about," Lewis said. "We're grateful he's in those kinds of spirits."

Gooch is a Berkeley High School alumnus, according to former Berkeley head football coach Jerry Brown.

"This is a dangerous job. This is a dangerous business that we're in," Sheriff Lewis said. "Every single time something like this happens, it should reinforce to the public ... the reason we are out there is to protect them. Nobody else is going to do that for them. We are tasked with protecting the people we serve, and without us -- without the young men and women out there doing that job -- society would be in chaos."

Friday's shooting marks the third time a Berkeley County Sheriff's Office deputy has been shot in the last three years.

Former BCSO Lt. Will Rogers was shot outside a gas station in Moncks Corner in May 2015. Despite two gunshots to the head, Rogers survived. He is now retired.

Kimber Gist, another Berkeley County deputy, was shot while conducting a traffic stop in Feb. 2016. She also has recovered from her wounds, and has since returned to active duty for the sheriff's office.

Lewis says Cpl. Gist was at the hospital Friday morning to check on Gooch. Lewis says she was very emotional and upset.

"It's ironic that we're here, and it's really kind of sad to say, but two years ago this past Monday, (Gist) was here in this same hospital, in this same trauma unit, being treated for gunshot wounds in the same trauma room that Deputy Gooch was in," Sheriff Lewis said when asked about Gist.

Lewis says mental health counselors re being brought in to provide assistance to the other deputies involved, and for the 9-1-1 dispatchers who were communicating with deputies during the incident.

Middleton also is at Trident being treated for his wounds, according to the sheriff. Lewis did not have information about Middleton's criminal history or prior incidents at the location of the disturbance as of 11 a.m.

ABC News 4 has requested a background check on Middleton from SLED.

"This individual could've gone anywhere, and he could've done anything with that weapon," Sheriff Lewis said. "He chose to fire on law enforcement. We didn't make that choice for him."

Lewis says Middleton's wife was injured in the domestic altercation leading up to the shooting, but the sheriff did not know the extent of the woman's injuries as of 11 a.m.

SLED is investigating the shooting.

(WCIV's Daris Schneider-Bray contributed additional information to this report).

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