The family of a Longs man who was shot and killed by a state trooper on Saturday questioned the trooper's actions after they reviewed footage of the incident at the Horry County Courthouse Thursday afternoon.

The footage, which has not been released publicly, provided a limited view of the incident and did not include audio, family and friends said.

Tristan Vereen, 33, died at Grand Strand Medical Center following the incident, which began as a traffic stop, authorities said.

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Mary Vereen (right) puts on a shirt with the face of her son printed on the front before a press conference at the Horry County Courthouse on Thursday to question the actions of the state trooper who shot and killed Tristan Vereen after a traffic stop on Saturday. The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the shooting. S.C. Highway Patrol Master Trooper W.B. Benton shot Vereen, 33. The trooper was taken to the hospital to receive treatment for injuries. Members of Vereen’s family viewed some of the footage of the shooting before the Thursday gathering. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

S.C. Highway Patrol Master Trooper W.B. Benton shot Vereen after a confrontation, according to the State Law Enforcement Division, which is investigating the shooting. Benton was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Authorities have provided no information about what led to the confrontation. The 15th Circuit Solicitor's Office plans to hold a new conference at 4 p.m. Thursday regarding the incident.

Family and friends of Vereen said he was pulled over by police for a cracked windshield. They said Vereen was unarmed at the time he was pulled over.

"My brother Tristan should not [have] had to die because he had a cracked windshield," said his sister Maryanne Vereen. "A cracked windshield. And he's dead. He's gone. We'll never see him again. His kids will grow up without him. All because of a cracked windshield. There's no justice in that and I want justice for my brother."

Elder James Johnson, national president of the Racial Justice Network, said Vereen's four children are left without a father.

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Family and friends of the late Tristan Vereen gathered at the Horry County Courthouse on Thursday to question the actions of the state trooper who shot and killed Vereen after a traffic stop on Saturday. The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the shooting. S.C. Highway Patrol Master Trooper W.B. Benton shot Vereen, 33. The trooper was taken to the hospital to receive treatment for injuries. Members of Vereen’s family viewed some of the footage of the shooting before the Thursday gathering. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

Johnson said he and the family demanded transparency by asking to see the footage from Saturday's incident. The State Law Enforcement Division and the S.C. Highway Patrol agreed.

"Most have to wait for SLED to finish their investigation and that takes six weeks," Johnson said ahead of the news conference. "So we demand transparency so they decided to show the footage. You can't leave the family in suspense for six weeks. We want to see the footage now."

Steve Schmutz, an attorney representing Vereen's family, said it is unusual for authorities to share information about a pending case.

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Talazkia Smith gathers with family and friends of the late Tristan Vereen at the Horry County Courthouse on Thursday to question the actions of the state trooper who shot and killed Vereen after a traffic stop on Saturday. The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the shooting. S.C. Highway Patrol Master Trooper W.B. Benton shot Vereen, 33. The trooper was taken to the hospital to receive treatment for injuries. Members of Vereen’s family viewed some of the footage of the shooting before the Thursday gathering. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

"I'm going to take that as that they are going to do the right thing throughout this case," he said.

"I don't want to get into much of a political editorializing here, but I would say I was thinking as I was here, doesn't this happen about every week?" he said. "We turn on the television and there's another one."

Schmutz said the family wants justice and hopes to accomplish that.

Benton was released from the hospital but will have to undergo surgeries for injuries sustained in the incident, said Sherri Iacobelli with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. Benton has worked with SCHP since 2010.

The incident remains under investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

Reach Ian Livingston Brooking at 843-248-6882 for any story ideas or news happening in your area.

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(1) comment

trocarman1

All the suspect had to do was stop, obey the officers commands and he would not have gotten shot the officer has done nothing wrong .

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