State News

Charlotte standoff ends when SC murder suspect shoots himself

Posted January 4, 2015

— An all-night standoff with a man suspected of killing his wife in South Carolina ended Sunday after the man shot himself inside the motel room where he'd holed up for 12 hours, police said.

Damien Lamer Williams of Greenville, South Carolina, shot himself at America's Best Motel in northern Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said. Williams had barricaded himself in a room shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday with two teenage acquaintances, police Maj. Johnny Jennings said.

Officers knew that the teenagers — who are 15 and 16 — were unharmed through the night but police "had to be extra cautious" because they didn't know whether the youths had been kidnapped, were being held hostage or something else, Jennings said.

The standoff started after police spotted Williams' car at the motel. Officers were on the lookout for the car because they wanted to speak to Williams about his 31-year-old wife's death. An autopsy of Vanessa Williams' body is scheduled for Monday. She was found dead inside her Greenville home on Saturday.

Police said they heard a gunshot from inside the motel room at about 11 a.m. Sunday and blew an opening through the entrance that had been blocked by furniture stacked behind the door.

"Our plan was if we did hear gunshots, we would immediately enter into the room using an explosive breach," Jennings said

Officers found Williams in critical condition inside. He was rushed to a hospital. The two teenagers were OK, police said.

Police had shut down an exit off northbound Interstate 85 and several city streets near the motel as a precaution during the standoff.


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