One police officer died Wednesday and six more sustained injuries while serving a search warrant in Florence, South Carolina.
Florence Police Department Chief Allen Heidler described 52-year-old Sgt. Terrence Carraway as a 30-year veteran of the force and a close personal friend, telling reporters Thursday his death “is a tragic loss of life for me.”
“He was the epitome of a community police officer,” Heidler said. “He loved this community. He gave it his all.”
Carraway and three other Florence officers arrived at an upscale home outside the city limits around 4 p.m. Wednesday with a search warrant for a 27-year-old resident accused of sexually assaulted a foster child inside the home. Investigators said gunfire erupted soon after their arrival, killing Carraway and wounding the other officers. Three Florence County sheriff’s deputies were also shot after responding to the scene for back-up, though its unclear what their conditions are as of Thursday evening.
Heidler said two have since been released from the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries while a third remains in serious, but stable condition. “They will be scarred for a long period of time,” he said.
Florence County Chief Deputy Glenn Kirby identified the shooter as 74-year-old Frederick Hopkins. The Associated Press describes the man as a disabled Vietnam War veteran and disbarred lawyer who lost his license in 1984 for wrongly collecting more than $18,000 in attorneys fees. His Facebook page also described a passion for competitive shooting, the AP reports.
Florence County Sheriff Kenny Boone said officers responded to the call unaware of the firepower waiting inside the house. He heralded the department’s military equipment, including an armored vehicle, for helping carry the wounded officers to safety.
“Fire was being shot all over. The way this suspect was positioned, his view of fire was several hundred yards So,” he said, per CBS News. “He had an advantage. The officers couldn’t get to the ones who were down.”
Police have released few other details surrounding Hopkins or a possible motive. More information is expected Friday.