Police blotter for January 12th-19th

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New Year’s Day fire threatens home

An outdoor fire, fed by a propane tank, fueled an illegal outdoor fire that threatened a nearby home on New Year’s Day.

Burton firefighters were dispatched to a report of a house fire on Glaze Drive, and they arrived on scene to what was actually an illegal burning of a fallen tree from Hurricane Matthew that spread to a nearby shed. The shed was fully engulfed in flames, fueled by a propane tank. The fire was burning within 10 feet of a residence and spreading.

The blaze was extinguished before any damages to the home occurred. However, the shed was completely destroyed. Firefighters had difficulty accessing the residence due to fallen trees across the driveway from Hurricane Matthew and had to cut through a chain-link fence to reach the fire.

No injuries were reported. The city of Beaufort Fire Department also responded and assisted in extinguishing the fire.

Burton fire officials remind citizens of Beaufort County that there is a burn ordinance governing the unincorporated areas of Beaufort County. Citizens living in incorporated areas are strongly encouraged to check with their local fire department for outdoor burning ordinances that affect them. Failure to adhere to any such ordinance could result in legal action and fines.

Sheriff’s office recognizes citizen’s heroic actions

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is crediting a citizen for his heroic actions.

According to a sheriff’s office report, on the afternoon of Dec. 7, 2016, while conducted an investigation on the second floor of the Econo Lodge on Boundary Street in Beaufort, investigators from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office encountered two aggressive men.

When confronted, the men attacked the investigators and attempted to push them off the second-floor balcony. They then ran away.

A lieutenant assigned to the Sheriff’s Office Investigations Section responded to the area to assist. He saw the two men in the parking lot near the Kmart shopping center, and when he confronted them, they attacked him.

The lieutenant attempted to bring them under control while they threw punches, hitting him in the head.

While numerous other bystanders stood by and watched, Craig Reaves took immediate action and came to the lieutenant’s aid.

The lieutenant wrestled with one of the individuals on the ground while Reaves kept the other one at bay until backup deputies could arrive and take both into custody.

Consequently, two violent  offenders  are  now  safely  in custody  as  a  direct  result  of Reaves intervention.

“On behalf of the men and women of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, please join us in sharing our gratitude to Mr. Reaves for his heroic and timely actions, without which our lieutenant may have been seriously injured,” according to a sheriff’s office release.

Local lieutenant graduates from FBI Academy

Christian Gozalez, formerly of the Beaufort Police Department and now a lieutenant with the Bluffton Police Department, graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy (FBINAA) on Dec. 16, 2016.

Internationally known for its academic excellence, the National Academy Program, held at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., offers 11 weeks of advanced communication, leadership and fitness training for selected officers who have proven records as professionals within their agencies.

“I’m very proud of Lt. Gonzales. Having gone through the program myself, I know how rigorous the program is, both mentally and physically. Lt. Gonzales is now equipped with knowledge and expertise that will help shape and mentor Bluffton Police officers,” said Bluffton Police Chief Joey Reynolds.

Gonzales currently serves as the lieutenant of the Emergency Management and Training Division. He began his law enforcement career as a military police officer in the United States Marine Corps in 1996. After four years, he moved to civilian law enforcement with the Beaufort Police Department.

In 2006, he joined the Bluffton Police Department and has since served in the Patrol and Investigations Divisions.

Two wrecks cause rollovers, minor injuries

The Burton Fire District responded to back-to-back motor vehicle accidents on Jan. 3 with vehicles rolling over in both collisions and resulting in minor injuries.

Burton firefighters responded to the first wreck just after 8:30 a.m. in front of the Enmark gas station on Trask Parkway.

Firefighters arrived to a single-vehicle accident in which the passenger vehicle had rolled over. Both occupants in the vehicle had minor injuries and were not transported for medical care.

One northbound land of Trask Parkway was blocked while emergency crews assisted the occupants.

Burton fire crews responded to the second wreck at the intersection of Parris Island Gateway and Mink Point Boulevard just after 9 a.m.

The two-vehicle collision between a Dodge Caravan and passenger vehicle resulted in the passenger vehicle rolling over multiple times. The occupants of the passenger vehicle, a mother and two children, who were all properly restrained, were uninjured. The driver of the Caravan left the scene.

One lane of Parris Island Gateway was blocked for approximately 45 minutes while emergency crews removed roadway hazards and assisted the family.

Emergency response training coming to TCL

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training is being offered at the Technical College of the Lowcountry.

The program provides training to Beaufort County residents to increase self-sufficiency in a disaster. Participants also learn skills that will enable them to provide emergency assistance to their families and neighbors.

CERT classes are free and are held at the Technical College of the Lowcountry (Room 125), 100 Community College Drive in Bluffton.

The course is taught in four class sessions, which will be held from 6-9 p.m. and one Saturday class 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

They will be held as follows:

• Tuesday, Feb. 7: Personal Preparedness and Hazard Mitigation
• Thursday, Feb. 9: Disaster Medical I
• Tuesday, Feb. 14: Disaster Psychology/Terrorism Response
• Thursday, Feb. 16: Disaster Medical II / CERT Organization
• Saturday, Feb. 18: Fire Suppression/Disaster Search Techniques & Exercise

For more information or to register, contact Major David Zeoli at 843-812-8035 or email cert@bcgov.net; or call Kris Legg at 843-263-2783.

Sheriff’s office looking for suspect in robbery

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is seeking help from the public in identifying the person responsible for the Jan. 3 armed robbery of Burton Shell Food Mart at 3530 Trask Parkway. The suspect is described as an African-American male, 5 feet, 5 inches tall, approximately 200 pounds and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt. He was armed with a black semi-automatic pistol.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Cpl. Jason Malphrus at 843-255-3426 or CrimeStoppers 1-888-CrimeSC to remain anonymous and for a possible reward.