Ridgeway Man Killed in Upstate

Campus Cops Gun Down Former Griffin

Delvin Simmons

Delvin Simmons

SPARTANBURG (Nov. 20, 2015) – The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is investigating after a Ridgeway man was shot and killed last week by a campus police officer in Spartanburg.

Delvin Tyrell Simmons, 20, a 2014 graduate of Fairfield Central High School and a student at Limestone College in Gaffney, was shot on the night of Nov. 9 on the campus of Spartanburg Methodist College by a campus police officer.

SMC police officers Andrew Tomlinson and Justin Yarborough were reportedly investigating vehicle break-ins near Sparrow Residence Hall and found Simmons and another man, later identified as Oliver Mylik Chandler, 20, of Darlington, at the scene of a break-in in progress at approximately 8:45 p.m.

Campus police said Simmons tried to flee the scene behind the wheel of an automobile and allegedly struck Tomlinson while driving away. Tomlinson opened fire on the car, striking and killing Simmons. Simmons was pronounced dead at the scene. Tomlinson reportedly received minor injuries and was treated at the scene. Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the investigation.

Chandler, a former Limestone student, fled on foot, but was later captured on campus. He has been charged with car-breaking and larceny.

SLED spokesperson Thom Berry said there was no dash cam or body cam footage of the incident.

According to Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger, an autopsy performed last week showed the cause of death to be a gunshot to the head. Hemphill Pride II, a Columbia attorney retained by the Simmons family, told media outlets Friday that Simmons, who was unarmed, had been hit “at least five times” by gunfire.

Pride also said the car Simmons was allegedly breaking into belonged to his grandmother and that Simmons had permission to use it.

Simmons, a sophomore at Limestone, was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was part of the Call Me MISTER teacher mentor program. During his years as a Griffin, he was part of Fairfield Central’s football state championship bids in 2012 and 2013. His former head coach, Demetrius Davis, remembered him fondly and was shocked by his sudden death.

“He was a great kid,” Davis said after Friday’s first-round playoff win over Powdersville. “Nobody’s perfect, but this cat was in school, he was in the Call Me MISTER program, he wanted to be a teacher. He was doing all the right things. But sometimes you get caught with the wrong crowd, sometimes – I don’t know. I really don’t know what happened.”

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said Friday that evidence found in the car Simmons was driving connects Simmons and Chandler to auto break-ins on the campus of Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C., about 40 minutes from the SMC campus. Wright said Gardner-Webb police confirmed that clothing they spotted on men breaking into vehicles through surveillance video was the same clothing found inside the car of Simmons.

Investigators allege that Simmons and Chandler broke into several cars on the campus of Gardner-Webb University on Nov. 2 and then used a debit card stolen from one of the vehicles multiple times in Gaffney the next day, running up charges of more than $308.