South Carolina was in shock Thursday after seven law enforcement officers were shot, one fatally, by a gunman who had been holding children as hostages at a home in Florence County.
Florence deputies were executing a search warrant Wednesday night related to the sexual assault of a minor when the gunman barricaded himself inside his home with several children as hostages, WMBF-TV reported.
Police from the city of Florence responded to the situation after receiving a call to help from the sheriff’s office.
The gunman, identified by police as 74-year-old Fred Hopkins, opened fire on law enforcement officials.
Sheriff Kenney Boone said the deputies had no idea that they would encounter this kind of firepower when serving the warrant, according to The State.
— The State Newspaper (@thestate) October 4, 2018
The firefight lasted for two hours before the gunman surrendered, but not before he left one Florence police officer dead and six other law enforcement officials injured.
The officer who was fatally wounded in the incident has been identified as 52-year-old Terrance Carraway, a 30-year veteran on the Florence police force.
UPDATE: City of Florence spokesman John Wukela tells me that Terrence Carraway is the officer who died from his injuries. He had just received his 30-year service pin from the department. pic.twitter.com/oQGxbu4JaS
— Meg Kinnard (@MegKinnardAP) October 4, 2018
Police Chief Allen Heidler described Carraway as being the “bravest police officer that I have never known.” Holding back tears, he told those listening to continue to pray for Carraway’s family.
The other officers who were wounded had not been identified early Thursday.
USA Today reported that the gunman was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for a head wound. Another 20-year-old in the house was also wounded.
Boone described the situation, saying, “Fire was being shot all over. The way the subject was positioned, his view of fire was several hundred yards so he had an advantage. Officers couldn’t get to the ones who were down.”
As the firefight continued, authorities were forced to use a bullet-proof military vehicle to pick up the officers who were wounded.
President Donald Trump tweeted about the tragic situation on Wednesday evening. “My thoughts and prayers are with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office and the Florence Police Department tonight, in South Carolina,” he wrote. “We are forever grateful for what our Law Enforcement Officers do 24/7/365.”
My thoughts and prayers are with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office and the Florence Police Department tonight, in South Carolina. We are forever grateful for what our Law Enforcement Officers do 24/7/365. https://t.co/ZwDmDthItD
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2018
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster also responded to the incident, saying, “This is simply devastating news from Florence. The selfless acts of bravery from the men and women in law enforcement is real, just like the power of prayer is real.”
This is simply devastating news from Florence. The selfless acts of bravery from the men and women in law enforcement is real, just like the power of prayer is real. (1/2)
— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) October 3, 2018
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he was “heartbroken” over the shooting. “God bless those who choose to protect us and their families,” he tweeted. “We are keeping them in our prayers.”
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