LANCASTER COUNTY, SC — New details about a local pastor, shot and killed by a deputy in Lancaster County. Church members and friends say problems in his marriage could be why he was hostile with deputies.
Darrell Morgan’s church members and friends say he was a great Christian man who was in a bad place because of health problems and infidelity in his marriage of 41 years. People closest to him tell WCCB Charlotte those things may have put him over the edge when he showed up at a business with a gun.
Outside his church Friday, there were fresh flowers and a sign that said “Love one another”. The windows were boarded, but people say the doors are always open, and the word is good at Pastor Darrell Morgan’s church in the small town of Tradesville.
“He was a good man and a good preacher,” said Lancaster resident Doris Napper.
“He was one of the best preachers that I’ve had in a long time,” said Brenda Griffin of Tradesville.
Morgan leaves behind a small congregation of about 25 members. But Brenda Griffin says Morgan hasn’t preached in several weeks.
“I don’t know what went on behind closed doors, but it had to trigger him, whatever it was,” added Griffin.
“He would be the person to do anything for anybody,” said church member Diana Doster. “That’s why I don’t understand what happened.”
Lancaster County deputies were called to a business called Carolina Corner on Highway 521 Thursday afternoon. Morgan’s wife Julie was inside. Deputies say he went in after her with a gun. Officers arrived nine minutes later.
“Clearly posed a threat to the officer, and people inside the business,” said Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile. “Shots were fired to eliminate the threat.”
“When a man loses the love of his life, he can feel like there’s no reason to go on sometimes,” said Paul Olford, a friend and neighbor who’s now taking care of Morgan’s dogs. He says Morgan’s wife moved out weeks ago, and infidelity in their marriage of 41 years may have been too much for him to bear.
“The man is a great man,” said Olford. “He’ll always be that in my opinion, no matter what happened. I don’t think he would have hurt her, and in some ways I think maybe he succeeded with his plan.”
One deputy fired shots, but two deputies are on paid administrative leave.