York Co sergeant wounded in deadly ambush likely shot by fellow officer, deputies say

York Co sergeant wounded in deadly ambush likely shot by fellow officer, deputies say
Detective Mike Doty (top left), Sgt. Buddy Brown (top right), Sgt. Randy Clinton (bottom left), and Sgt. Kyle Cummings (bottom right) (Source: York County Sheriff's Office)
Detective Mike Doty (top left), Sgt. Buddy Brown (top right), Sgt. Randy Clinton (bottom left), and Sgt. Kyle Cummings (bottom right) (Source: York County Sheriff's Office)

YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - A York County sergeant who was injured during an officer-involved shooting in January was likely shot by a lieutenant.

Kyle Cummings, who works in the multi-jurisdictional forensics unit at the York Police Department, was one of the four officers struck during a shootout with 47-year-old Christian Thomas McCall on Jan 16.

Cummings and two other officers, Sgt. Buddy Brown and Sgt. Randy Clinton, were injured in the shooting after deputies responded to a domestic call on Farrier Lane.

The fourth officer, Detective Micheal Doty, died after being seriously injured in the shooting.

On Wednesday, the York County Sheriff's Office announced that forensic testing was unable to "conclusively establish the identity of the individual that fired the shot," injuring Sgt. Cummings.

Deputies say that testing eliminated all of the weapons used during the shootout, except for a weapon that was fired by Lieutenant J.M. Ligon. However, forensic testing was able to determine that Sgt. Clinton, Sgt. Brown and Det. Doty were struck by gunshots that were allegedly fired by McCall, according to deputies.

"He launched the attack, so he's responsible for all of the consequences," 16th Circuit Judicial Solicitor Kevin Brackett said of McCall. Brackett says while this information was new to the public, it was not new to any attorneys in the case.

Brackett called Ligon a great officer and a great guy. "I've known him for years as well and he is terribly distressed over this whole thing," Brackett said. "Nobody wants to be the guy in his position."

Sheriff Kevin Tolson released this statement:

"During the search for a suspect that had already assaulted his wife and shot Sergeant Clinton, that suspect ambushed several officers with an AK47 assault rifle and a gunfight ensued. In only a matter of seconds, gunfire was exchanged and three officers sustained injuries, as well as the suspect. While it is likely that the shot that wounded Sergeant Cummings was fired by Lieutenant Ligon, the ultimate responsibility for the attempted murder of Sergeant Cummings rests with Christian Thomas McCall."

The Public Defender's Office issued a statement that said the forensic testing does not change the case because McCall admitted to instigating the assault, which then set in motion the events that led to Det. Doty's death and the injuries of the four other officers involved.

Lt. Ligon has been placed on an administrative assignment until the investigation is concluded, deputies say.

A GoFundMe account - which you can find here - was set up to help the injured officers with their medical bills and recovery.

McCall was shot by officers, ending the hours-long stand-off that started as a domestic violence call at a home in the 3000 block of Farrier Lane. He was wanted for allegedly assaulting a woman at the home, deputies said.

Nearly two months after a deadly officer-involved shooting in York County, the accused gunman was released from the hospital and was taken into Charlotte-Mecklenburg police custody.

McCall pleaded guilty in exchange for a life sentence, which the judge accepted. According to the Public Defender's Office, this newly released information was made available prior to the plea.

In a 911 tape played in court, McCall's wife can be heard screaming and telling dispatchers that he beat her. The call was recorded the night of the shooting.

The prosecution agreed not to seek the death penalty against McCall.

In court, Sheriff Tolson said his officers "showed mercy" on McCall the night of the shooting. Detective Doty's father, Bob Doty, spoke in court and said his family has been "paralyzed with grief." The fallen detective's father said he prays daily for McCall's family and said he hopes the suspect "learns to be truthful with himself." Bob Doty said his family forgives McCall.

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"The family is shocked, saddened and devastated by the events of January 16, 2018," the family issued in a statement. "The Christian McCall we know is a loving Christian, husband of over 20 years, father of two great kids, son, and brother," the statement said.

Under South Carolina state law, if a police officer is murdered in the line of duty the charge could carry the death penalty as a sentence.

McCall was booked in the Mecklenburg County Jail before being extradited. He was held on a fugitive of justice warrant out of North Carolina.

McCall had warrants in South Carolina for murder, three counts of attempted murder, domestic violence and possessing a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

According to the suspected gunman's lawyer, McCall's family said he was a "loving Christian, husband of over 20 years, father of two great kid, son and brother."

Family members said the shooting was "something uncharacteristic of Chris' past and seemingly promising future."

Little is known about the suspected gunman. According to a FOIA request with the National Archives, McCall was in the Army from 1991 to 1994 as a petroleum supply specialist. The documentation revealed a number of awards, including "Sharpshooter Badge with Auto Rifle Bar." He was stationed at a number of bases across the U.S. including Fort Bragg but was never deployed.

York Police Chaplain and Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church Matt Burrell says he knew of McCall because their children went to school together.

"He seemed like a good father, a Christian man," Burrell said. "The interaction that we had with him a person that you never would have been like 'Hey one day you need to be worried about this person'."

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