Connecticut police officer killed in South Carolina trying to break up fight

An off-duty Connecticut police officer died Sunday after he was reportedly assaulted in a popular South Carolina bar.

Sgt. Matthew Mainieri, 41, a decorated 20-year member of the South Windsor Police Department, died Sunday afternoon after he tried to break up a fight at Uncle Tito’s in Murrells Inlet, Fox 61 Connecticut reports.

He suffered head injuries during the altercation and was pronounced dead Sunday afternoon, the station reported.

“It is with profound sadness that the members of the South Windsor Police Department mourn the death of Sergeant Matthew Mainieri,” South Windsor Deputy Police Chief Scott Custer said.

Kelton Jess Todd, 21, of Aynor, S.C., was charged with assaulting Mainieri by deputies with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office.

More serious charges are pending, the sheriff’s office said.

Mugshot for Kelton Jess Todd, 21, of Aynor, South Carolina.

Mugshot for Kelton Jess Todd, 21, of Aynor, South Carolina. (Georgetown County Sheriff's Office)

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Mainieri was vacationing with friends at the time. Uncle Tito’s is near Myrtle Beach.

His police work earned Mainieri commendations, including the Medal of Valor, according to Custer.

In July of 2009, Mainieri and two other South Windsor officers received special recognition for their response to a 13-hour hostage standoff at a house, the Hartford Courant reported.

The standoff ended with Mainieri and Sgt. Peter Alix taking suspect, Richard Shenkman, into custody, according to the paper. Shenkman had kidnapped his ex-wife and set fire to the house. He is currently serving a 70-year prison sentence.