CLOVER, S.C. — A police officer in South Carolina has been placed on paid leave after investigators say he shot a 70-year-old Lincolnton man who was reaching for his cane during a traffic stop.
Investigators say the officer thought the man was reaching for a weapon.
Deputy Terrance Knox, 24, stopped Bobby Canipe, 70, of Lincolnton, N.C., Tuesday night in Clover, for an expired tag.
Deputies said Canipe got out of his truck and grabbed a walking cane out of the bed of his pickup. The deputy thought the cane was a weapon.
According to WSOC, Knox fired his gun at Canipe several times, striking him once in the stomach area. It was reported Canipe had surgery Wednesday at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, and is expected to survive.
Sheriff’s spokesman Trent Faris said Knox reacted to what he thought was a threat. He said Knox immediately tried to help Canipe after the shooting.
“It does appear at this time that Deputy Knox’s actions were an appropriate response to what he reasonably believed to be an imminent threat to his life,” Faris said.
Friends of the family tell WSOC that Canipe is a disabled Vietnam veteran, who is active in the VFW in Lincoln County.
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is now investigating the ninth officer-involved shooting of the year in South Carolina.
Knox is on leave until the investigation is over. The Sheriff’s Department does not plan to release the dash cam video from the deputy’s patrol car.