Seven South Carolina law enforcement officers were shot Wednesday, one fatally, and a suspect has been taken into custody, according to officials.
The shooting began when Florence County sheriff's deputies were attempting to serve a search warrant and the suspect opened fire, Maj. Michael Nunn said at a news conference, adding that three deputies and four police officers from the city of Florence were shot.
Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken reported that one of the officers died, according to WBTW-TV, which also reported that another person, other than the law enforcement officers, was shot.
City of Florence Police Officer Terrence Carraway was identified as the officer who was killed, according to the Associated Press, which reported that he was a 30-year veteran.
“The city of Florence mourns tonight for the loss of one of our own,” Mayor Stephen Wukela said at a news conference.
The coroner confirmed it was a Florence city police officer who died, according to the AP.
Glenn Kirby, deputy chief of the Florence County Sheriff's Office, 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. EDT. Although the suspect has been taken into custody, the public was 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.
The male suspect is in custody at McLeod Regional Medical Center, according to abcnews4.com.
There is no word on the condition of the other six officers who were shot.
“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 into 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. 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 Region Center, where the officers are hospitalized.
Vintage Place is described as an “upscale neighborhood in the western part of the city,” according to the AP. It is just outside the Florence city limits.
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 South Carolina State House, GOP state Rep. Jay Jordan of Florence asked that the House take a moment of silence for the 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 6:30 p.m., 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.”