Authorities say a City of Charleston police officer who was barricaded inside a home in West Ashley ended his own life on Thursday.
Charleston Police Chief Gregg Mullen said Sgt. George Hildebidle "decided to end his life his own way." Mullen said Hildebidle worked for the department for more than 12 years and was married with two children.
"This is a tragedy not only for his family but for our department and for all of his co-workers," Mullen said."We ask for the community's prayers during this time because not only does his family need those prayers but also members of our department."
CPD officials said at 7:53 a.m. police received an emergency call from consolidated dispatch that a there was disturbance, CCSO investigators said it was a domestic situation, at a home on Magnolia Way off Grand Banks Boulevard in the Autumn Chase subdivision.
Mullen said CPD officers attempted to make contact with the individual inside the home but were unable to.
Authorities reported that the person inside the home was alone, refusing to come out and was armed.
Neighbors in the area were initially put on lockdown and were evacuated, deputies say.
"Once we determined that it was a member of our department we set up a perimeter to contain the situation and requested the Charleston County Sheriff's Department, the crisis negotiations team, SWAT, and bomb squads to respond to assume responsibility for the situation because we did not want to have our own folks dealing with this since they worked with this individual on a daily basis," Mullen said.
According to Mullen, at 12:17 p.m., a SWAT team from the sheriff's office entered the home and found the individual deceased in the residence.
Mullen called Hildebidle's death a huge loss for the department and briefly mentioned the shooting situation involving Walter Scott.
"I think police officers all over the United States constantly experience high stress and what's going on right now has just elevated that, but this situation today I'm focusing on what's happening with members of my department and that's my priority now," Mullen said.
The Charleston County Sheriff's Office will be investigating Hildebidle's death.
"He served this community well and unfortunately like many situations we deal with, this particular one, he chose to end the situation in his way," Mullen said."He was a great officer, I've worked with him for almost nine years and he was a great sargeant to this community. He's done wonderful things for not only the community, but for his co-workers and we're certainly going to miss him."