Suspect used heroin before chase that killed firefighter, according report

A report on a chase in Greenville Co. in Sept 2015 that resulted in a firefighter being killed and a deputy hit has been released to us via the Freedom of Information Act.

Greenville County Sheriff Steve Loftis says the chase spanned 12 to 15 miles and ended on Highway 25 near Old Buncombe Road and the Country Corner Produce in Travelers Rest.

When deputies first got the call about a stolen vehicle at the TDs Express Mart, deputies found two trucks and got out to take a look.

Loftis says the driver of one truck headed straight toward the deputy, forcing him to back up against a concrete wall. The deputy fired shots as the truck struck him and then took off.

“With a suspect driving a pickup truck toward you and you have nowhere to go,” said Loftis, “His life was definitely in danger. And that’s why he fired shots at the suspect through the windshield.”

Loftis says another deputy then spotted the truck on Poinsett Highway where the chase began.

But when the suspect then drove into southbound lanes, heading the wrong way, deputies called it off.

“Our primary mission is to protect life and property. So rather than continue with the pursuit, as reckless as the suspect was driving, that’s when our supervisor decided to end the chase,” said Loftis.

But the truck kept going and struck a motorcyclist head on.

The Greenville County Coroner identified him as 30-year-old Jordan Barry Howard. We’re told he was heading to work a shift at the North Greenville Fire Department.

Deputies arrested the suspect, John Williams Kennedy on the scene.

He faces multiple charges – including two counts of attempted murder.

The report that was just released says Kennedy admits he took 1/2 a gram of heroin 30 minutes before the chase.

He says that the whole thing was a blur to him and he doesn’t remember hitting the deputy vehicle.

Ashley Tate Moore also faces a charge of possession of a stolen vehicle.

The report says Moore told police that Kennedy called him asking if he was interested in a truck.

He says he met Kennedy at the gas station where Kennedy offered to sell him a truck bed cover.

He says Kennedy started freaking out after two Greenville Co. Sheriff’s cars pulled up.

Kennedy jumped in the truck and drove into on of the deputies.

Police say Kennedy told them he and Moore were unloading stuff out of a truck they stole when the deputies showed up.

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