Seven law enforcement officers were shot, one fatally, during a standoff Wednesday in Florence, South Carolina, city police Chief Allen Heidler said.
Florence County Sheriff’s deputies were executing a search warrant when a man opened fire, said Maj. Mike Nunn, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. The man then barricaded himself in the home with children during the two-hour standoff, Nunn said.
The other officers were shot as they responded to assist their fellow officers, authorities said.
“These officers went there unknowing the firepower this suspect had. … They thought it was a random search warrant,” Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone said. He said the suspect was in custody.
Boone said: “Fire was being shot all over. The way the suspect was positioned, his view of fire was several hundred yards. So, he had an advantage.”
Three Florence officers and three deputies were wounded in the standoff, Heidler said. Their conditions were not immediately known.
Heidler said the deceased officer was a member of the Florence department. Authorities did not identify the officer.
“Today will mark a very horrific day in the annals of the Florence Police Department,” he said. “Today, we lost a good friend of mine, an officer that I’ve known for 30 years.”
The Florence police chief said: “Pray for the family who lost the bravest police officer that I have ever known.”
President Donald Trump and South Carolina lawmakers also offered prayers for victims.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office and the Florence Police Department tonight, in South Carolina. We are forever grateful for what our Law Enforcement Officers do 24/7/365,” the President wrote on social media.
“This is simply devastating news from Florence. The selfless acts of bravery from the men and women in law enforcement is real, just like the power of prayer is real,” Gov. Henry McMaster said on a social media post.