Today in 2002, Charleston Police PFC Dennis LaPage was shot and killed by a suspect who went on a shooting spree following a three-car accident he was involved in at Cannon Street and Courtenay Drive.
The accident occurred in front of a hospital helicopter landing pad. Two flight medics who were eating at a nearby restaurant witnessed the accident and ran to the scene to offer assistance. As they checked the victims, the suspect reached back into his car and retrieved a handgun. He then opened fire striking both flight medics, killing one.
The suspect then fled the scene and encountered PFC LaPage, who was working a uniformed off-duty security job at a private college dorm. Thinking PFC LaPage was searching for him, the suspect immediately opened fire, striking him in the head, back, and elbow. The suspect continued to fire several more shots before being apprehended by police on Meeting street. PFC LaPage was wearing a protective vest at the time.
The suspect was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison October 23, 2002.
PFC LaPage had been employed with the Charleston Police Department for seven years and is survived by his wife and two step-children.
PFC LaPage is interred at Visitation Cemetery in Norfolk, New York.
Dennis Elisha LaPage’s name has been engraved at the South Carolina Law Enforcement Memorial on the Statehouse Grounds in Columbia and at the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC, located on panel “23, East-10”. A plaque bearing Dennis Elisha LaPage’s name is displayed at the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame in Columbia.