A South Carolina man has been awarded $750,000 in a lawsuit against the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office after he was left paralyzed by an officer’s bullet whilst being mistaken for a burglar.
Bryant Heyward was shot in the neck in 2015 after he called 911 to report a home invasion at his house in Hollywood, South Carolina, just west of Charleston.
He had asked for $25 million in his original lawsuit against the sheriff’s office but ended up settling for $750,000.
Bryant Heyward received a $750,000 payout from S.C. Insurance Reserve Fund after being shot in the neck resulting in him being made a quadriplegic
‘This case was very complicated. Bryant was a completely innocent guy and everything that could have went wrong did go wrong,’ his attorney, Justin Bamberg, told ABC News.
‘With no footage of the shooting, certain factual disputes created a proverbial he-said, he-said situation. However, nothing changes the fact that Bryant was an innocent homeowner shot in a tragic turn of events and his life will never be the same because of it.’
‘His life changed forever, but he’s one of the fortunate ones who survived one of these bad encounters with law enforcement,’ he added.
Authorities said he had a gun in his hand when Charleston County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene.
In 2018, the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office determined that Deputy Keith Tyner (left) ‘acted appropriately’ when he shot Heyward and declined to press charges against the deputy
Bryant Heyward phoned 911 from his laundry room in his South Carolina home (pictured) where he was hiding with a gun after two men tried to break-into his house to steal from him
Heyward had originally asked for $25 million after calculating how much his care for the rest of his life would likely cost
By the time police arrived, the burglars had run off. They did not know that Heyward was armed.
Deputy Keith Tyner and his partner arrived and Tyner saw a door fling open ‘and a black male appeared and pointed a handgun’ at him, he said in his report.
Although there is no footage of the actual shooting, there is audio upon which Deputy Keith Tyner can be heard asking Heyward to show his hands
Barely a second later, Tyner fired twice, rendering Heyward a quadriplegic for life.
‘Wrong guy, sir,’ Heyward yelled after the bullet pierced his neck. ‘This is my house.’
In a 911 recording the victim can be heard earlier telling the dispatcher how two men with guns were trying to break into his house and were banging on the windows.
Later in the call, he can be heard pleading with the dispatcher for the police to hurry.
Heyward filed the lawsuit in 2017 after the shooting left him paralyzed from the neck down and in need of medical care for the rest of his life.
He is unable to feed or bathe himself and has developed bed sores and diabetes.
It has also left him with long-standing emotional trauma as well, his lawyer Bamberg said.
Heywood was father to a young girl, but he is now unable to feed or bathe himself, let alone the youngster. He has developed bed sores and diabetes.
‘I’ve had a few cases in my career that emotionally put me through the wringer and this is one of them,’ Bamberg said. ‘It hurts to have a young man who is in his late 20s tell you they would rather be dead because he can’t move anything below his neck.’
‘Bryant was a completely innocent guy and everything that could have went wrong did go wrong,’ his attorney, Justin Bamberg said
‘Over time, his spirit revitalized and his spirit was rebuilt. Now he says, ‘I’m a survivor, I can beat this.’ He learned how to use this chair and he realized that he’s blessed because he still gets to talk to his loved ones and visit his friends,’ he added.
The settlement was awarded in May but was kept private initially out of a fear for his own safety
‘We didn’t say anything; we were mindful that what kick-started this whole thing was foolish people trying to break in to steal from him,’ Bamberg said.
‘We didn’t want to put out how much money he got just in case someone tried to target his house again.’
In 2018, the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office determined that Deputy Tyner ‘acted appropriately’ when he shot Heyward and declined to press charges against the deputies.
A key mistake was uncovered after police were not told that the burglars had run off by the time police arrived at the home. They were also not told that Heywood, was armed