FLORENCE, S.C. — A South Carolina sheriff and police chief are requesting prayer after seven officers were shot in the line of duty on Wednesday when several deputies attempted to serve a search warrant in Florence. One officer lost his life after being struck by the suspect.
“I would ask that you please put the families of these officers in your prayers, that you please lift them up,” Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone said during a press conference.
“I can only echo the sentiments of the sheriff and ask for, at this point and particular time, [the] prayers of every human being who knows the Lord Jesus Christ to pray for these officers,” also remarked Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler.
According to reports, sheriff’s deputies arrived at the Vintage Place residence at approximately 4 p.m. yesterday to serve the warrant on a 27-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting a foster child. However, a 74-year-old, now identified as Fred Hopkins, quickly opened fire on the deputies.
“These officers went there unknowing the fire power this suspect had,” Boone explained. “[T]hey thought it was a random search warrant. But, when they arrived, gun fire started [and] several officers were hit.”
When other officers arrived to try to help their injured comrades, Hopkins shot at them as well.
“The suspect continued to fire on other officers who responded to the scene to render aid to the wounded,” Maj. Mike Nunn explained. “Officers from the Florence City Police Department responded to assist, and several of their officers were shot as well.”
An armored vehicle had to be used to rescue the downed officers, and according to local television station WBTW, Hopkins fired at the MRAP.
The situation turned into a two-hour standoff, with children inside of the home. A 27-year-old inside the residence, believed to be the subject of the search warrant, was also shot.
A negotiator was finally able to talk Hopkins, a former attorney disbarred in the 1980’s, into surrendering.
One officer, Sgt. Terrance Carraway, died from his injuries. He had just received a 30-year service pin from the Florence Police Department. Heidler, saddened by the senseless violence, called Carraway the “bravest police officer I have ever known” and a “good friend.”
“He was a giant of a man, but he was the proverbial gentle giant … and I loved him,” he stated.
Heidler vowed to take care of the affected officers and their families.
“I want to thank this community for reaching out already. I want to thank all of my brothers and sisters in blue from around this country who are already reaching out,” he said. “We will take care of our family, cause this is my family. These officers are my family. We will take care of them and we will take care of their loved ones.”
“This is simply devastating news from Florence. The selfless acts of bravery from the men and women in law enforcement [are] real, just like the power of prayer is real,” Gov. Henry McMaster also commented via Twitter. “Peggy and I ask that you pray for them—pray for their recovery, pray for their families, and pray for all of Florence.”