Seven South Carolina law enforcement officers have been shot, one fatally, and a suspect has been taken into custody, according to officials.
The shooting began when sheriff’s deputies were attempting to serve a search warrant at around 5 p.m. Wednesday, and the suspect opened fire, Maj. Michael Nunn with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office said at a news conference, adding three deputies and four police officers were shot.
Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken reported one of the officers died. One other person was shot during the incident, authorities said, and was being treated at the hospital.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The State
Terrence Carraway has been identified as the officer who was killed, according to the Associated Press, reporting he was a 30-year veteran.
“The city of Florence mourns tonight for the loss of one of our own,” Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela said at a news conference.
The coroner confirmed it was a Florence city police officer that died, according to the AP.
Kirby said a 20-year-old male inside the home was shot but is still alive, WBTW reported.
A suspect is in custody, according to a tweet from Florence County Emergency Management, which reported the “active shooting situation is over,” just after 6 p.m. Although the suspect has been taken into custody, the public is still asked to stay away from Vintage Place off of Hoffmeyer Road, according to Florence County Emergency Management.
“This area is safe, the suspect is in custody,” Florence County Sheriff Kenny Boone said at a news conference.
A block away from the house more police tape marked the spot where a bloodied bullet proof vest sat on the side of an intersection. Blood was spilled across the road.
The male suspect is in custody at McLeod Regional Medical Center, according to police.
There is no word on the condition of the other six officers who were shot.
At the news conference, Wukela said two of the police officers were “seriously” wounded, while two suffered non life-threatening injuries. One of the officers seriously injured died. Three sheriff’s deputies suffered “serious wounds,” according to the mayor.
“Officers went there unknowing the firepower the suspect had,” Boone said at a news conference. “When they arrived gunfire started, several officers were hit.”
Florence Police officers were responding to a shots fired call, neighbors said, according to abcnews4.com, which reported that West Florence High School went on lockdown, and athletic teams were brought inside, according to a Facebook post.
“They were responding to the scene of an incident where they knew their brothers and sisters from the sheriff’s office were in need,” Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler said at a news conference.
“Today we lost a good friend of mine, an officer I’ve known for 30 years,” Heidler said. “Pray for the family who lost the bravest officer that I have ever known.”
The wounded officers were rescued when authorities moved in a ballistic resistant shield or vehicle, according to Nunn.
The suspect “held off police for two hours — holding children hostage in his home,” before he was arrested, the AP reported.
“Very scary. Very scary,” said Shaw Thompson with McLeod Regional Medical Center, where the officers are hospitalized.
Vintage Place is a neighborhood of large homes with clean, orderly suburban lawns. It is located just outside the Florence city limits.
Late in the evening police at the scene detained one man, questioning him outside the home while his hands were handcuffed behind his back.
Tarique Faruki, who lives on the street where the officers were shot, called the neighborhood “one of the safest places around here.” He said he was at work and his wife and son were at a doctor’s appointment when the shooting started.
He said they have been parked on a side street for hours, but police appeared to be allowing residents back into the neighborhood at about 9 p.m. A helicopter was still flying overhead and relief trucks from the Red Cross and Salvation Army were on scene in the neighborhood.
At the S.C. State House, State Rep. Jay Jordan, R-Florence, asked that the House take a moment of silence for the injured police officers.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is leading the crime scene investigation, according to Boone.
ATF tweeted that “Special Agents from the Charlotte Field Division are on the scene,” just after 7 p.m.
Just after 6:30 p.m., S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted about the shooting.
“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,” McMaster said. “Peggy and I ask that you pray for them, pray for their recovery, pray for their families, and pray for all of Florence.”