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Sheriff's deputy, suspect killed in South Carolina shootout

The deputies involved in a deadly shootout in Charleston, S.C., responded to a report of a drunk man pounding on doors.

By Frances Burns

CHARLESTON, S.C., Sept. 9 (UPI) -- A shootout at a Charleston, S.C., home left a veteran sheriff's deputy and his alleged killer dead and another deputy wounded, officials said Tuesday.

To add to the tragedy, the manager of emergency communications for Charleston County died of a heart condition during the incident.

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Deputies Joseph Matuskovic and Michael Ackerman went to an apartment complex in the West Ashley neighborhood Monday evening in response to reports of a drunk pounding on doors, Assistant Sheriff Mitch Lucas said at a news conference. They were trying to reach Michael Oswald, who lived alone in an apartment there, when he opened fire.

Matuskovic, 45, died at a hospital. Oswald, 38, was later found dead of gunshot wounds.

Larry Britton, 58, the communications manager, died at about 3 a.m. after becoming ill on the job, Coroner Rae Wooten said.

Matuskovic joined the sheriff's department after almost 15 years as a Charleston police officer. He was assigned to be a field training officer.

Lucas said that Ackerman's leg wound could be life-threatening.

Bill Tunick, the county's communications director, described Britton, a grandfather, as a generous man who volunteered with a rescue squad and served as Isle of Palms fire chief during Hurricane Hugo.

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"I've never met a more dedicated person, a more dedicated employee," Tunick said. "This man was born to serve, and he did throughout his life."

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