Deputies from the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office who responded to the shooting of a renowned South Carolina lawyer over the weekend—months after his son and wife were murdered at their family estate—wrote in their incident report that he had suffered no “visible injury,” a claim that was almost immediately walked back by authorities on Thursday.
In a copy of the incident report obtained by The Daily Beast, deputies who responded to the Saturday incident indicated that 53-year-old Alex Murdaugh did not have a “visible injury” and was not under the influence of drugs and alcohol. While the report includes little information about the shooting itself, it does describe the incident as an “attempted murder.”
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, however, told the Island Packet that the box that was checked to indicate Murdaugh did not suffer an injury was likely made in error.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) told The Daily Beast that Murdaugh only sustained a “superficial gunshot wound to the head” and was released from the hospital soon after he arrived.
“He did have an injury,” the sheriff’s office said.
But Murdaugh’s attorney, Jim Griffin, claimed to the Packet that his client had sustained severe injures from the incident—including a skull fracture, minor brain bleeding in two places, and a wound that has an entry and exit point. Murdaugh's spokesperson, Amanda Loveday, also confirmed the 53-year-old’s injuries to The Daily Beast and stated that the wounds were not “self-inflicted.”
The incident report states that around 1:55 p.m. on Sept. 4, deputies were dispatched to Old Salkehatchie Highway “in reference to a shooting incident.” SLED previously told The Daily Beast that Murdaugh had called 911 about 20 minutes earlier.
While en route, the report states deputies learned that Murdaugh “had been shot in the head and was being flown out from a landing zone” on the highway to the hospital. Before he left, however, a sheriff’s office investigator spoke with Murdaugh at the scene and other deputies secured the location until state authorities arrived.
Griffin previously said that his client had been shot in the head by an unknown truck driver while changing a tire and was airlifted to a Savannah hospital for treatment.
On Thursday, Griffin told Island Packet that Murdaugh stopped on the side of the road after his late wife’s Mercedes-Benz indicated he had a low tire. While outside of his car, Griffin said Murdaugh saw a truck pass by—before the driver turned around and asked if he needed help.
“The driver of the truck rolled his window down, came to a stop, and asked if he had car trouble,” Griffin said, adding that his client said he didn’t know if he could change his tire.
Loveday, his spokesperson, also confirmed to The Daily Beast that Murdaugh said he was stopped because of the low tire indicator light and that the male truck driver in a blue pickup truck asked him if he had car trouble.
“After replying, he was shot,” Loveday said.
Griffin also told the Island Packet that after the incident, two individuals found Murdaugh injured near his car and helped him. Inside their car, Griffin said, Murdaugh was able to call 911. The pair then helped Murdaugh to an ambulance that was farther down the street before he was eventually airlifted.
Loveday did not confirm those details to The Daily Beast.
Authorities have also not provided details as to why Murdaugh was air-lifted to a local hospital if he did not suffer a visible injury, or why he was released from the hospital hours after the incident if he did have major injuries as his camp states.
There are zero details into the investigation about Murdaugh’s claim he was shot by an unknown driver who stopped to ask him if he had car trouble. The incident report does not provide any information about a possible suspect—and only fuels more questions about what happened on that back road in the Lowcountry.
Despite the swirling questions, Griffin insisted on Thursday that the shooting was not self-inflicted, adding that there was no gun found at the scene and that a SLED agent told him Murdaugh’s tire had been slashed.
“I don’t think you choose to have a flat tire or stage a flat tire to commit suicide. That makes no sense,” Griffin said, adding that there are many things being reported about the Saturday incident “that are incongruent.”
It also raises questions about whether there is a possible connection between the recent shooting incident and the murders of Murdagh’s family. In early June, his 52-year-old wife, Margaret, and their 22-year-old son, Paul, were both found fatally shot near the hunting dog kennels on their 1,700-acre estate.
The killings have not yet been solved.
To add to the mystery, just hours after the Murdaugh shooting incident last weekend, the lawyer issued a surprise announcement that he had quit the law firm his great-grandfather founded a century ago and was entering rehab.
Griffin told the Island Packet his client entered a drug treatment center to deal with substance abuse issues—and will meet with authorities investigating the shooting after he finishes the first phase of his detox. The State, citing unnamed sources, said the substance was oxycodone.
“The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life. I have made a lot of decisions that I truly regret,” Murdaugh said in the statement.
Late Monday night, however, the law firm, Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth Detrick, provided a different version of events, revealing that Murdaugh had actually been forced out days earlier—after they discovered “that Alex misappropriated funds.” While the law firm declined to comment on how much Murdaugh allegedly stole, two people associated with the South Carolina legal community previously told The Daily Beast that the amount is over a million dollars.
On Wednesday, Randolph Murdaugh IV, the eldest brother in the prominent family, was the first to speak on behalf of the rest of the dynasty. A statement issued Wednesday to The Daily Beast said that he and the family’s law firm were shocked by his brother’s apparent unraveling.
“I was shocked, just as the rest of my PMPED family, to learn of my brother, Alex’s, drug addiction and stealing of money,” he said. “I love my law firm, family, and also love Alex as my brother. While I will support him in his recovery, I do not support, condone, or excuse his conduct in stealing by manipulating his most trusted relationships.”