FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The son of a Florence man murdered on New Year's Eve is speaking out as authorities continue to search for a suspect.
The Florence County Sheriff's Office said 87-year-old Ocie Rivers was shot during an attempted robbery at his home New Year's Eve night. He was transported to a local hospital where he died from a single gunshot wound.
"He didn't deserve to pass away this way," son Victor Rivers said. "He had so many people around him that respected him and loved on him."
The victim's son said that fatal night, his father was expecting a visit from his nephew.
FCSO officials said when they arrived at his home, Ocie Rivers told them the suspect was wearing a mask and entered his home attempting to rob him.
The victim grew up in Florence and lived in the neighborhood where the incident happened for over 10 years.
Rivers' son said his father was well known and loved in the community.
"Even just when I was there last week, people on his street said he was well loved and he would do anything to help you," Victor Rivers said.
Neighbors echoed the same sentiments.
"He was a great help to the community and people in this community and others who came in that wanted his services, he would be able to do for them," John Richardson said. "So it's just a shame from what I understood that happened to him."
"Well respected in the community, everybody loved him. If you needed help, anytime, anyway, he would help you even if it wasn't anything but a ride to the store or if you're short a few dollars he would help you," another neighbor who didn't want to be named said.
The victim's son said he wished his own son would have had more time to spend with his grandfather.
"It's not a phone call away anymore and you know my son actually met him for the first time like five or six years ago and just to have that time together - that he has a grandchild - it's be taken from him," Victor Rivers said.
The funeral for Ocie Rivers is set for Friday.
Deputies are asking anyone who may know anything about the incident to contact FCSO investigators at (843) 665-2121, ext. 395, of Crime Stoppers of the Pee Dee at (888) CRIME-SC.