FLORENCE, SC (WBTW/ WSPA) – One suspect is in custody and a police officer has died after eight people, seven of whom were officers, were shot Wednesday in Florence.
Chief Deputy Glenn Kirby with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office said the shootings occurred in the area of Hoffmeyer Road near the Vintage Place neighborhood.
Officials initially stated that three deputies and two city of Florence officers had been shot. Kirby later confirmed that four city of Florence police officers and three Florence County deputies had been shot.
The deceased officer has been identified as Terrence Carraway with Florence Police Department. Carraway was a 30-year veteran of the the department.
“Today we lost a good friend of mine … an officer I’ve known for 30 years,” City of Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler said. “We have three other officers at this particular time who are receiving attention at this hospital. I can only echo the sentiments of the sheriff and ask for at this point and particular time prayers of every human being who knows the Lord Jesus Christ to pray for these officers.”
“The were responding to the scene of an incident where they knew that the brothers from the sheriff’s office, their brothers and sisters from the sheriff’s office, were in need, as we all do, and they do for us,” Heidler said. “I want to thank this community for reaching out already. I want to thank all my brothers and sisters in blue from around this country who are already reaching out. We will take care of our family. This is my family. These officers are my family. We will take care of them. We will take care of our family and their loved ones. Pray for these officers and their speedy recovery, and pray for the family who lost the bravest police officer that I have ever known.”
The suspect surrendered to deputies after talking with a negotiator and has been taken to the hospital for treatment.
Kirby said a 20-year-old male inside the home was also shot and is still alive.
No other details on other victims’ conditions is available.
Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone said, “This area (Vintage Place subdivision) is safe, the suspect is custody, but we will probably go through the night working those crimes scenes as well.”
Boone said any additional information will come from Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, whose office is working the crime scene and leading the investigation.
Mayor of Florence Stephen Wukela said during a news conference Wednesday night that the City of Florence is mourning the loss of “one of our own and we pray for those who are wounded and still in jeopardy.
“We can be reassured somewhat in the knowledge that the officer that passed and those who were wounded were so doing what they loved, which is protecting this community and protecting one another,” Wukela said. “They came to the aid of one another and had great loss in that effort.”
“You are safe because of those officers and deputies who are willing and have been willing, and … continue to be willing to put themselves in harms way,” Wukela added.
Gov. Henry McMaster issued a statement on his Facebook page, saying “The selfless acts of bravery from the men and women in law enforcement is real, just like the power of prayer is real. Peggy and I ask that you pray from them, pray for their recovery, pray for their families, and pray for all of Florence.”
President Donald Trump took to Twitter Wednesday night to express his condolences about the shooting in Florence:
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 Sen. Tim Scott also issued a statement following the shooting Wednesday evening:
Prayers with injured officers in Florence and their families.— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) October 3, 2018
The following statement was issued by Sen. Lindsey Graham via Twitter out Wednesday night:
Heartbroken over the shooting involving the Florence area police officers.
God bless those who choose to protect us and their families. We are keeping them in our prayers.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 4, 2018
Florence County Emergency Management officials said on Facebook around 6 p.m. that a suspect is in custody and the “active shooting situation is over.” Officials are asking people to stay away from the area as “there is still an active crime investigation in progress.”