Florence, SC – Florence Police Department Officer Terrence Carraway was murdered in the line of duty on Wednesday evening as he ran towards gunfire to help three Florence County Sheriff’s Office deputies who had been shot during an ambush.
The gunman, later identified as 74-year-old Fred Hopkins, also shot six other law enforcement officers during the incident.
The confrontation began at approximately 4 p.m., when Florence County sheriff’s deputies attempted to execute a search warrant in the city’s upscale Vintage Place neighborhood, according to FOX News.
The search involved allegations that a foster child in the residence had been sexually assaulted, and named a 27-year-old man as the suspect, Florence County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Glenn Kirby told WMBF.
Hopkins, the sexual assault suspect’s father, opened fire on the deputies from inside the residence, striking three of them, NBC News reported.
As Florence Police Department officers rushed to help the deputies, the shooter opened fire on them, as well.
Officer Carraway, 52, was fatally shot, and three other Florence police officers were injured by gunfire.
Hopkins barricaded himself inside the residence, where he held an unspecified number of foster children hostage during the two-hour standoff that ensued.
“These officers went there unknowing the firepower this suspect had,” Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone said during a press conference, holding back tears. “He had an advantage. The officers couldn’t get to the ones that were down.”
Due to the barrage of gunfire, the injured officers were unable to get to safety, and their fellow officers were unable to reach them, CNN reported.
Police utilized a mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle in order rescue the wounded officers.
After speaking with a hostage negotiator, the shooter eventually surrendered and was taken to a local hospital for treatment, CNN reported.
Four foster children inside the home at the time of the incident were not physically injured, and were found hiding beneath a golf cart in the garage, Deputy Kirby said, according to NBC News.
"I want you to pray for the family who lost the bravest police officer I have ever known," Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler said during a press conference on Wednesday night, according to WLTX. "Today marks a horrible day, I lost a good friend of mine, my friend for 30 years."
Officer Carraway was also a retired Air Force veteran, who served the 315th Airlift Wing stationed at the Charleston Air Force Base, the command said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
Officer Carraway leaves behind a wife and three adult children, according to a fundraising page established to help his family in the wake of his death.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office and the Florence Police Department tonight,” President Donald Trump said in a tweet. “We are forever grateful for what our Law Enforcement Officers do 24/7/365.”
“This is simply devastating news from Florence,” South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster wrote. “The selfless acts of bravery from the men and women in law enforcement is real, just like the power of prayer is real.”
“Peggy and I ask that you pray for them, pray for their recovery, pray for their families, and pray for all of Florence,” the governor said.
Late Wednesday, the Copperheads Motorcycle Club announced that they and other motorcycle clubs would be joining in the fallen officer’s procession “to honor his life and sacrifice.”
“Thank you Sir and rest easy brother,” the club wrote in a Facebook post.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Florence Police Department Officer Terrence Carraway, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Terrence Carraway, your life mattered.