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1 man held, others questioned in SC deputy death
Deputy Shot SCMC301 5210511
This is an undated photo provided by the Colleton County Sheriff's office of deputy Dennis Compton who was killed while responding to early morning house alarm in the town of Smoaks, S.C. Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2008. South Carolina authorities are searching for clues in the slaying. - photo by Associated Press
    SMOAKS, S.C. — Authorities arrested one man as a person of interest and were questioning at least two others as they searched for the killer of a sheriff’s deputy shot as he responded to an alarm at an empty house, but no charges had been filed by early Thursday.
    Colleton County deputy Dennis Compton, 39, was shot Wednesday. Investigators from multiple agencies set up road blocks around a subdivision and combed the nearby area for hours in a hunt for suspects.
    In neighboring Dorchester County, Sheriff Ray Nash told news outlets they had arrested a man who was a person of interest sought in connection with the death. Nash wouldn’t identify the man.
    Officials with the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office did not return phone calls seeking comment early Thursday.
    Meanwhile, Colleton County Sheriff George Malone told The Post and Courier of Charleston two other people have been brought in for questioning. A Colleton County sheriff’s official reached by The Associated Press would not give any other details. Malone did not immediately return a phone message early Thursday.
    But State Law Enforcement Division spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said Thursday morning no charges had been filed in the deputy’s death.
    Timmons did not have information on the number of people being questioned, saying officers were ‘‘following everything possible’’ in the case.
    Compton’s body was found early Wednesday by the son of the owners of the home, which was empty at the time. Compton, 39, had gone to the house after an alarm there went off.
    A few minutes later, the homeowners’ son — called to the home by the alarm company — used the slain deputy’s radio to report Compton had been shot, Sheriff Malone said.
    Malone said it was unclear whether Compton fired his own weapon.
    Authorities set up roadblocks Wednesday in and around Smoaks, a town just west of Interstate 95, about 70 miles northwest of Charleston. Bloodhounds and a helicopter were also used in the search.
    ‘‘If there’s a way, God willing, we’ll find him,’’ Malone said during a Wednesday news conference in a neighborhood of small ranch homes near where the deputy died.
    Compton, a married father, had worked for the sheriff’s office for two years — first as a jailer and for the past 16 months as a deputy, Malone said.
    ‘‘Deputy Compton was an honorable man, he was a family man,’’ said Malone, who called the deputy ‘‘one of the best officers I had.’’
    Compton’s cousin, who serves on the county SWAT team, said Compton grew up wanting to work in law enforcement and usually asked for extra assignments. ‘‘He couldn’t wait to get into that patrol car,’’ said Cpl. Anthony Buchanan, 40.
    Buchanan said he was upset, not angry, at the person who killed his cousin, who had two children and two stepchildren.
    ‘‘We carry guns for a living and this is a wicked world,’’ Buchanan said. ‘‘Right will prevail. If they don’t get caught now, they will get caught.’’
    Neighbor Virginia Padgett, 66, said the woman who owns the house stays elsewhere several nights a week to care for elderly people.

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