COLUMBIA — The S.C. Department of Public Safety and the State Law Enforcement Division announced Wednesday that they have made two arrests following vandalism of the Benjamin Tillman Monument over the weekend.
On Saturday, June 27, around 10:30 p.m., Bureau of Protective Services (BPS) officers discovered an incendiary device had been left at the foot of the Tillman statue and ignited. There was no permanent damage to the monument; however, SCDPS called the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to assist in the investigation. Members of SLED’s Bomb Squad and Arson Investigation Unit worked closely with BPS officers to ensure no further damage was done.
SLED opened an investigation and found the substance that was used to be thermite – a highly flammable substance that can cause serious injury. BPS arrested two subjects in the incident: Anna Elizabeth Jordan, 19, of Columbia and James McTeer, 36, of Columbia on July 1, 2020. They were booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. The charges included: 16-11-110 (Arson) and 16-23-720 (Use, counseling or soliciting others to use, possessing, or threatening to use destructive device).
“We are thankful no one was injured in the act of this crime,” said SLED Chief Mark Keel. “I appreciate the great teamwork between SLED and SCDPS in making the arrests in this case.”
“Fortunately, this incident occurred over night when there were no visitors to State House grounds at that time; however, the material used could have posed a serious danger to our officers,” said BPS Chief Matthew Calhoun. “The State House grounds must be a place where everyone can feel safe to peaceably assemble and exercise their first amendment rights, however, there is no place for violence or vandalism. We appreciate the prompt assistance of SLED leading to these arrests.”
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety includes the Highway Patrol, State Transport Police, Bureau of Protective Services, Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs, Immigration Enforcement Unit and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame. Our mission is to ensure public safety by protecting and serving the people of South Carolina and its visitors.