Today in 1979, Charleston Police Patrolman Charles Alvin Snider, 53, 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 & 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.
Patrolman Snider died at the county hospital an hour after being shot with his .38 caliber service revolver.
Three suspects (a 22-year-old, a 17-year-old, and a 16-year-old) were arrested after a 27-hour manhunt by police. The shooter had a long history of criminal activity.
Patrolman Snider was survived by his wife, two sons, three daughters, six brothers and six sisters. He is interred at Carolina Memorial Park in North Charleston. Patrolman Snider was a United States Air Force veteran of the Korean War and Vietnam War. He had served with the Charleston Police Department for 13 years since 1966.
Charles Alvin Snider’s name has been engraved on the South Carolina Law Enforcement Memorial at the Statehouse and the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC, located on panel “34, E -6”. A plaque bearing Charles Alvin Snider’s name is displayed at the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame in Columbia.