A South Carolina man rendered a quadriplegic when a deputy mistook the resident for a burglar and shot him has settled a lawsuit for $750,000.
Bryant Heyward, who isn’t able to feed or bathe himself, developed bed sores and diabetes after the shooting, ABC News reported.
His attorney, Justin Bamberg, told the outlet on Sunday he initially asked $25 million of the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, but the case was a “very complicated” case, further complicated by a lack of scene footage.
“Bryant was a completely innocent guy and everything that could have went wrong did go wrong,” Bamberg said. “With no footage of the shooting, certain factual disputes created a proverbial he-said, he-said situation.
Bamberg told ABC News nothing changes the fact that Bryant was an innocent resident shot in a “tragic turn of events.”
“His life changed forever, but he’s one of the fortunate ones who survived one of these bad encounters with law enforcement,” Bamberg added.
Heyward, who lived with his mother and brother in a house on Scott White Road in the Charleston suburb of Hollywood, South Carolina, was home alone on May 7, 2015, when gunmen showed up at the house, reportedly to steal his brother’s .40-caliber pistol, according to investigators The Post and Courier interviewed.
Heyward grabbed the gun and, despite a shootout, was able to hide in a laundry room with no injuries until deputy Keith Tyner and his partner showed up, the newspaper reported.
Tyner said in a report The Post and Courier obtained that after he arrived on the scene he saw a door fling open “and a black male appeared and pointed a handgun.”
Tyner fired twice at Heyward, hitting him in the neck, hardly a second after the deputy ordered Heyward to show his hands, the newspaper reported.
“Wrong guy, sir!” Heyward reportedly screamed. “This is my house.”
The S.C. Attorney General’s Office determined in 2018 that Tyner “acted appropriately” in the incident and declined to press charges against deputies, The Post and Courier reported.
Heyward, having endured protracted emotional trauma, filed the lawsuit in 2017, his attorney told ABC News.
“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.”
Bamberg told ABC News the settlement happened in May, but Heyward went public about it recently in the hopes his story will inspire others.
“Over time, his spirit revitalized and his spirit was rebuilt,” the attorney said. “Now he says, ‘I’m a survivor, I can beat this.'”