Suspect in Shooting of 7 Officers Is 74-year-old Vietnam War Veteran
A 30-year police veteran was killed and six of his colleagues wounded when a man opened fire from inside his home on deputies who came to serve a search warrant. The incident happened on Wednesday at about 16:00 local time (20:00 GMT). The shooting continued for two hours as the man barricaded himself inside his home with children, firing from a distance at officers who came to help. The shooting ended with the shooter’s surrender. Officials have yet not disclosed why they were serving a warrant.
The slain officer, Terrence Carraway, 52, of Darlington, was recently honored for his 30 years of service with the Florence Police Department. The names of the six officers who were injured have not yet been released.
Describing the wounded officers and Carraway as ‘family’, Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler burst into tears. "I want you to pray for the family who lost the bravest police officer I have ever known," Heidler said.
Deputies have identified 74-year-old Fred Hopkins as the shooter. He has been hospitalized with a head injury, Florence County Chief Deputy Glenn Kirby informed. Hopkins was a former South Carolina lawyer who as the records reveal was disbarred in 1984, four years after being admitted.
He was also placed in Richland County Jail to serve six months, but the term was later suspended, according to the court documents.
A look into Hopkins' past revealed that he is a Vietnam War veteran. Court documents reveal he received disability checks for his injury.
Sheriff Kenney Boone said deputies serving the warrant had no idea they would encounter such furious firepower.
"Fire was being shot all over," Boone said. "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."
Boone praised his department's military equipment for enabling them to save the wounded from the incessant firing.
"Thanks to our MRAP, armored personnel carrier, we made sure all the officers that were shot were protected and brought for medical attention," he said.
Condolences and outpourings of support rolled in.
President Donald Trump tweeted, saying, "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
"This is simply devastating news from Florence," Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted. "The selfless acts of bravery from the men and women in law enforcement is real, just like the power of prayer is real."
Thom Berry, the spokesman for the State Law Enforcement Division, said that the agency had sent crime scene technicians to aid officials in Florence although he had not yet been asked to help with any investigation.
"Surprised is probably an understatement," said Bobby Goin, who has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years. "The worst thing that goes on around here is that someone runs a stop sign and it gets posted on Facebook."
This is the second shooting of police officers in South Carolina this year. In January this year, a 47-year-old former banker named Christian McCall shot four officers in York County, killing one. Upon being arrested, McCall pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life without parole.
The violence has stunned people trying to build their lives back after having witnessed record flooding from Hurricane Florence.