South Carolina shooting leaves 1 police officer dead, 6 injured

Emergency personnel are seen on site in the aftermath of a shooting in Florence, South Carolina, on Oct 3, 2018.
Emergency personnel are seen on site in the aftermath of a shooting in Florence, South Carolina, on Oct 3, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST) - Seven law enforcement officers were shot, one of them fatally, near the city of Florence, South Carolina, on Wednesday (Oct  3), before a suspect was arrested, according to local media and emergency management authorities.

The incident occurred at about 4pm on Wednesday afternoon after the suspect opened fire on deputies attempting to serve a search warrant to a house in South Carolina, officials said.

From inside the home, the suspect fired on the deputies, striking three of them, officials said. The suspect continued to fire as officers from other departments arrived to assist.

The wounded were evacuated after police drove in with a bullet-resistant vehicle, while the suspect barricaded himself inside, along with an unspecified number of children. After an approximately two-hour standoff, the suspect, who was not identified by officials, was arrested.

The officer who was fatally shot was from the Florence (South Carolina) Police Department. He was not immediately identified.

Chief Allen Heidler told reporters that he had known the officer for 30 years, calling him “the bravest police officer that I have ever known". 

Officials expressed shock and anger that violence broke out while deputies were serving what they called a “random search warrant", a relatively routine investigative procedure.

The suspect had an advantageous vantage point of several hundred yards, officials said.

“These officers went there unknowing the firepower this suspect had,” Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone told reporters, his eyes wet.

“He had an advantage. The officers couldn’t get to the ones that were down.”

The six officers are receiving treatment at a local hospital.

Florence, a city of about 38,000 people, is in the Pee Dee region of northeastern South Carolina that was drenched by heavy rains and flooding from Hurricane Florence last month.

At least 100 law enforcement officers swarmed the area around the shooting, ABC News affiliate WPDE reported.

"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," Governor Henry McMaster said on Twitter.