Patrolman Charles Alvin Snider

Patrolman Charles Alvin Snider

Charleston Police Department, South Carolina

End of Watch Friday, March 2, 1979

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Charles Alvin Snider

Patrolman Charles Snider was killed with his own service revolver while attempting to arrest a shoplifting suspect in a George Street parking lot behind the Gloria Theater.

The manager of Kress and Co. at 281 King Street said a man walked out of the store with stolen earrings and hair grease, valued at less than $15, just after 5:00 pm. The manager attempted to apprehend the man in the parking lot. The suspect pulled off his red turtleneck sweater and challenged the manager.

A bystander notified Patrolman Snider, who regularly worked the King Street beat. Patrolman Snider then attempted to arrest the man. The suspect wrestled Patrolman Snider’s gun away and shot him at point blank range in the head and in the right leg at about 5:20 pm.

The suspect kept the pistol and ran from the parking lot with his two companions. Three suspects were arrested after a 27-hour manhunt by police.

Patrolman Snider's 21-year-old killer pleaded guilty of first degree murder and was sentenced to life on April 4, 1980.

Patrolman Snider was a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Korean War and Vietnam War. He was survived by his wife and five children.

Bio

  • Age 53
  • Tour 13 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

View all 16 Reflections

I only knew officer Snider as the “old guy on King St.” He, nevertheless, had a major impact on my life. The day after he was killed, and 3 days after our twin boys were born, I was standing in the Sears parking lot with two other officers on night shift, discussing the senseless murder which occurred 2 blocks away, when someone took a shot at us. We yelled at a student walking in front of the College of Charleston and the suspect popped up from behind a car and took off running. We pursued and he quickly was cornered and arrested. Before this, I had often pondered whether or not I could use my weapon in the line of duty. I reasoned that, if necessary to preserve life, I could. Very noble of me. In the adrenaline pumped exhilaration and painful anger of losing a fellow officer; I came painfully close to shooting that kid in the back as he fled. The only think preventing me was my Corporal was in front of me in the line of fire as we ran. I thank God that the suspect tried to get into a locked building and surrendered instead of running down the street; the outcome would likely have been very different. It turned out to be a drunk student breaking into a friend’s car to get something he left in it. The ‘gunshot’ was when he broke out a window. In that moment my moral high ground of how and when I might use my weapon was obliterated. Through the Grace of God, I didn’t shoot that kid, but in that angry, fearful moment, I not only could, I wanted to shoot. I was not and am not the good guy I thought I was at that time. I was a lost sinner, and came face to face of the evil I was capable of doing. I needed a Savior and found Him. I thank God that He used this senseless, tragic murder to help lead me to the Cross.

Jim Graham (ex-patrolman)
Charleston PD

September 28, 2019

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