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Self defense determined in shooting incident

Lexington, S.C. (October 6, 2017) – Chief Terrence Green would like to notify the public that the investigation into the shooting incident which resulted in a death within the Cherokee Village neighborhood has been ruled a justifiable homicide.

On Sunday, July 23, 2017 at approximately 2:30 a.m., officers were dispatched to a shooting incident that had occurred on Cherokee Pond Court. Upon arrival officers found a white male had been shot, who was later identified as Derek Alexander Fogle, laying in the front yard of a residence at 197 Cherokee Pond Court. Derek Fogle was transported by ambulance to Lexington Medical Center where he later died from his injuries. Derek Fogle, age 31, was a resident of the Cherokee Village neighborhood and had lived at 184 Cherokee Pond Trail.

Officers made contact with Joseph Scott Nicewonger who stated that he shot Derek Fogle during an unprovoked attack outside of his own residence.

The investigation showed that when Joseph Nicewonger was transferring a firearm from his vehicle to his residence that Derek Fogle approached yelling at him. Derek Fogle ran into the garage where Joseph Nicewonger was standing and chased him from his garage and into his yard. Derek Fogle threw Joseph Nicewonger to the ground several times and struck him in the head repeatedly. While Derek Fogle was on top of him and striking him in the head, Joseph Nicewonger, who was armed with a handgun, shot Derek Fogle in self-defense to end the confrontation. Joseph Nicewonger immediately called 911 after the shooting and stood by in his yard until officers arrived. Joseph Nicewonger cooperated fully during this investigation.

On the night of the incident, Derek Fogle was experiencing an altered mental state and had physically attacked his roommate just prior to the altercation with Joseph Nicewonger. Witnesses in the neighborhood stated that they had heard and seen Derek Fogle causing a disturbance by yelling, knocking on doors and walking through several yards just prior to the assault and shooting incident.

Toxicology results showed the presence of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Trazodone, Venlafaxine, and Desmethylvenlafaxine in Derek Fogle’s body at the time of his death.

During the investigation, it was found that Derek Fogle had mental health diagnoses of depression, anxiety, and bi-polar disorder and that he had stopped attending counseling sessions with mental health several weeks earlier.

Chief Terrence Green said, “Detectives found that all elements of this investigation fell within the Stand Your Ground law and that during this incident, though tragic, Joseph Nicewonger acted lawfully in the protection of his personal safety.”

The South Carolina Protection of Persons and Property Act allows that when someone is attacked at their residence, in their vehicle, or at their business, that they can meet the attack with force, to include the use of deadly force if necessary to protect themselves or someone else from death or great bodily injury or to prevent the commission of a violent crime. There is not a duty to retreat.