Internal affairs investigators for the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office determined deputy Kevin Azzara acted according to policy when he shot 62-year-old Dick Tench, who was standing in the window next to the front door to his own home.
An internal investigation conducted by the sheriff’s office’s Officer of Professional Standards to see if deputy Azzara violated any written policies found that no agency policies were violated when he opened fire on the man while standing outside his home.
However, Azzara blatantly lied in his police report, claiming that Tench had opened his front door and pointed his weapon at him when the video shows Tench was standing behind a closed door just holding the gun.
Nevertheless, Azzara, who is currently on administrative duties, will return to his normal duties at a time yet to be determined.
“That was our position from the beginning, that he broke no laws, he broke no policies, he didn’t do anything wrong,” Michael Laubshire, an attorney for the South Carolina Fraternal Order of Police, who represents Azzara, said.
While Azzara is off the hook in terms of internal affairs issues, a criminal investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division is still ongoing, according to Greenville News.
It happened on June 14 when Tench was awakened at midnight by loud banging on his front door and bright lights shining through his windows believed was an intruder trying to break into his home when he grabbed his pistol and walked towards his front door to investigate
Tench ended up shot by deputy Azzara, who claims he confused him for a burglar.
Azzara then walks inside Tench’s home through the front door in order to communicate with him, as he cries in pain.
“Where are you hit?”
“In the groin and in the chest.”
“Don’t fucking do it, man,” Tench yells, apparently thinking the cop might shoot him again.
“You pointed a gun at me, man!” the cop screams back.
“You were at my house,” Tench cries, obviously in pain.
“I rang your doorbell because we got an alarm call.”
That’s when Tench’s wife apparently enters the scene and goes into shock.
“Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!”
“Get the ambulance here, man, I’m going to fucking die,” Tench urges the deputy.
“They’re coming. They’re coming.”
“Just stay with me,” the deputy says.
“You shot me here, and you shot me here,” the homeowner says as he’s hunched over on the floor.
“Just take some deep breaths.”
“What is going on?” Tench’s wife asks.
“I saw lights and I heard the door bell ring, so I got my gun. I’m a concealed weapons guy.”
The bodycam video released by the department Monday includes a lot of “copsplaining” and greatly differs from the account given by the Greenville Sheriff’s Office for weeks.
“The Sheriff’s Office’s statement for weeks after the shooting that my client opened his front door and aimed at deputy and you can look at that body cam – that ends that version,” Beattie Ashmore, Tench’s attorney, told GreenvilleOnline today after the sheriff’s office posted a clip of the shooting to their YouTube channel.
Tench was shot a total of four times.
One gunshot struck his aortic artery and one bullet hit him in the pelvis.
Two other bullets grazed Tench on his side, according to Ashmore.
“This has shaken him to the core,” Ashmore said.
“They are super fine people. There’s just more to the story here.”
In 2017, Azzara fatally shot a Simpsonville man after responding a call about a domestic disturbance, according to police reports.
A forensic report from the 2017 case shows at least one bullet recovered from the man’s body came from Azzara’s rifle.
Officer Azzara was one of five officers responding to that scene.
Ten rounds total were fired from his rifle in that incident, striking Joseph Inabinet, 50, who police say had a pellet gun outside of his home, threatening “suicide by cop” during a disturbance with his estranged wife, according to records.
But Azzara obviously lied in his police report about why he shot Tench, so it’s possible the 2017 could also be a fabricated version.
Watch our edited video above or the video with the copsplaining below. Both include profanity. Here is the full unedited video without the copsplaining.