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South Windsor police officer dies after being assaulted in South Carolina; Suspect released on bond

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MURRELLS INLET, South Carolina -- An off duty South Windsor police officer died Sunday as a result of injuries suffered after an assault in South Carolina the night before. A man is under arrest for assault in connection with the case.

The Georgetown County Sheriff's Office said Matthew Mainieri, 41, died Sunday afternoon from head injuries sustained during an assault at Uncle Tito’s, 4124 U.S. Business 17, Murrells Inlet, S.C. South Windsor Police said Mainierri was trying to break up a fight.  The town is in the area of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Mainieri died at Grand Strand Medical Center shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday.

Deputies charged Kelton Jess Todd, 21, of Aynor, South Carolina with assault of a high and aggravated nature and was transported to the Georgetown County Detention Center. The case remains under investigation and charges could be amended, according to the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials said Todd was released  on a $35,000 bond following a hearing at the Georgetown County Detention Center Monday.

Deputy Chief Scott Custer released a statement Sunday evening.

It is with profound sadness that the members of the South Windsor Police Department mourn the death of Sergeant Matthew Mainieri.  South Windsor Police Sergeant Matthew Mainieri #155 died this afternoon of injuries sustained in an off-duty incident in South Carolina last night while trying to break up a fight.

Sgt. Mainieri was a 20-year employee of the South Windsor Police Department.  He began working as a Community Service Officer in January 1998 and became a police officer in May of 1999.  During his career, Matthew served as an Officer, Corporal and Sergeant.  He served in the Traffic Division and Detective Division. He was member of the regional traffic unit (Metro Traffic Services) and was an accident reconstructionist.  He was also an outstanding instructor in many areas including firearms and motorcycle instructor.  He was a member of our regional emergency services team (C.R.E.S.T.) and was skilled at explosive breaching.

In recent months, Sgt. Mainieri became heavily involved in starting a Drone Program for the Police Department and obtaining the drone technology to find missing persons and suspects.  He was also the recipient of several awards including the department Medal of Valor, Chief’s Award, and Certificates of Commendation.  Sgt. Mainieri spent his off-duty time with friends riding motorcycles, traveling to Vermont and South Carolina.  He leaves behind his mother, sister, girlfriend and countless friends.

We send our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends as well as his police family throughout Connecticut and beyond.  Final arrangements have not been made as of this writing and we will be assisting his family during this difficult time.

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