She swore to protect and serve, and on an early morning in February, Berkeley county deputy Corporal Kimber Gist put her life on the line and kept that oath. Deputy Gist shares her story in her first interview detailing the ordeal.
A day on the job is different now for 25-year- old Berkeley County Deputy Kimber Gist. Corporal Gist is assigned to administrative duties right now, a necessary routine, but one she hopes is not permanent.
During the early morning hours of Friday February 26th, Gist was shot several times in the line of duty in Goose Creek. “It could of happened to anyone, but it was me,” says Deputy Gist. The experience, still difficult to talk about. “I was checking for suspicious activity in the area, which is a known drug and narcotics, weapons area. I saw a vehicle parked where prostitution and drugs are normally found, and once I started talking to the driver of the vehicle, it started to become more obvious that criminal activity was happening. The first shot I knew I was shot, just from the very first one. I was shot four times, once in my ear, the second to my lip, third was my hip. The fourth was my foot. I have a graze on my knee, so it’s four maybe five. I had a good samaritan stop and saved my life.”
The suspect shot and killed himself after a stand-off with law enforcement in North Charleston.
The Spartanburg native and Charleston Southern grad spent a week in the hospital. She has had three surgeries so far, and her capabilities are limited. “I can barely run or jump,” says Gist. “I kind of walk with a limp right now because the one in my foot, it pretty much shattered my entire foot. I’m still recuperating from that.”
She pauses to recall her proudest moment. Gist says, “Being promoted to Corporal that was the most rewarding, and I guess that was the happiest time especially to have it within the first year working. Most people it takes them two to three years, but for me I got it within the first year, so I was really excited about that.”
The near death experience has intensified her will to protect and serve. “It made it stronger because I just feel like that I obviously went through an ordeal so an innocent person didn’t have to. As much as it’s not fun right now. if i had to go through it again. It was just to make sure someone else didn’t have to go through it,” says Corporal Gist.
A stream of tears falls as she thanked a community that continues to show overwhelming support during her recovery. “It gets tough at times,” says Gist. “Thank you. It hasn’t gone unnoticed. From the first day, I knew I had community support, and even up to this day I still have community support, which is amazing. Even when I’m not in uniform, I know people know who I am just by looking at me.” When asked how does that make you feel, She replies, “Appreciated and that I’m not forgotten.”
Deputy Gist still serves the community during outreach initiatives as well. She served as a special guest at this year’s 9-11 Heros Memorial Run.
When asked why continue to do this line of work, Deputy Corporal Kimber Gist says, “Love, just being there for people. I know a lot of people say somebody has to do it, but for me that’s not the answer. You have to literally have it in your heart to do this. The survival and fighter mentality has to be within you. It’s not something that you learn, something that you’re born with. Wanting to serve and protect has to be something that you want to do, and I think that’s my calling.”
Gist is single with no children, but says the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office family is her family.