FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A fatal confrontation with a man who held children hostage in a Florence home before opening fire on deputies has left one officer dead and six other law enforcement officers injured, according to officials.
A 20-year-old male civilian was also shot, according to Florence County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Glenn Kirby. Their condition was not immediately known.
Deputies were serving a search warrant at a Florence home in Vintage Place off Hoffmeyer Road around 4 p.m. Wednesday when the suspect opened fire, killing Officer Terrence Carraway, 52 of Darlington.
Carraway had just received a 30-year service pin from the department.
“Today will mark a very horrific day for the Florence Police Department," Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler said. "Today we lost a good friend of mine, an officer that I have known for 30 years.”
Along with Carraway, six other law enforcement officers were shot, three officers with the FPD and three deputies with FCSO.
Authorities had to use a bullet-proof vehicle to rescue the seven police officers in order to send them to area hospitals.
“We know at times that this is a dangerous job and our deputies readily and bravely accept that challenge,” Florence County Major Mike Nunn said during a Wednesday evening press conference that was wrought with emotion
It was said that after the officers were evacuated, the suspect remained barricaded inside the home with children.
The standoff between law enforcement and the suspect lasted for two hours before the suspect was taken into custody.
“These officers put their lives on the line everyday, they never know when they leave home if they are going to return home," Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone said during the press conference. “A lot of officers don’t get the respect that they deserve. This situation has hit home, we have had several officers that were injured. Several officers shot. It’s a terrible situation.”
The Horry County Police Department sent officers to the scene to assist. Peer support was also provided by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.
"These officers went there unknowing the firepower the suspect had, and they thought it was a random search warrant,” Boone said. “When they arrived, gunfire started, several officers were hit and I want to thank Florence Police Department. Those guys were minutes away and they assisted us well. It is great when you do have that relationship with other officers and agencies and you can call them for help. I would ask that you please put the families of these officers in your prayers. That you please lift them up.”
Boone stressed the area was safe now that the suspect is in custody, but asked that those who live in Vintage Place to be patient as the investigation continues.
An emotional Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler asked that the community to lift the law enforcement agencies up in their prayers.
“I can only echo the sentiments of the sheriff and ask for prayers of every human being that knows the lord Jesus Christ to pray for these officers,” Heidler said regarding the officer who died from injuries suffered in the shooting. “They were responding to the scene of an incident where they knew their brothers and sisters from the sheriff’s office were in need. As we all do, and they do for us."
Heidler, with tears in his eyes, thanked those from near and far who have provided support to his department.
"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,” said Heidler. “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.”
Multiple officers are said to be in serious condition and officials are asking people to stay away from this area.
Sheriff Boone has asked the Richland County Sheriff’s Office to take over the investigation.