CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) – At least five law enforcement officers were shot, one of them fatally, near the city of Florence, South Carolina, on Wednesday, before a suspect was arrested, according to local media and emergency management authorities.
Emergency personnel are seen on site in the aftermath of a shooting in Florence, South Carolina, U.S. October 3, 2018, in this still image obtained from a social media video. Derek Lowe/via REUTERS
No official details on the shooting were immediately available. But the Florence County Emergency Management Department said on Twitter that an “active shooting situation” reported in the area was “over and the suspect is in custody.”
The tweet advised members of the public to keep away from the crime scene in the residential subdivision known as Vintage Place, on the western edge of Florence.
A person answering the telephone at the county emergency department said he was not at liberty to provide further details.
In a recording of emergency radio transmissions from the incident posted online by The State newspaper, a dispatcher is heard saying: “Have an officer down,” before warning rescue units that access to the victim was limited.
“They advise the patient is going to be behind a residence, and the suspect was still firing. Units be advised, shots are still be fired at this time,” the dispatcher said.
Florence-based WPDE-TV, citing the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, reported that three sheriff’s deputies and two Florence city police officers were shot in the incident, and that one of the city officers had died.
WMBF-TV, an NBC News affiliate, also reported that one of the five officers had been killed. The condition of the four other officers was unknown, local media outlets said.
A third local television station, WBTW-TV, reported that eight people in all were shot, seven of them law enforcement officers, including one who died.
WBTW, citing Chief Deputy Glenn Kirby, reported that the suspect surrendered to deputies after talking with a negotiator and was taken to a hospital for treatment. The TV station also cited Kirby as saying a 20-year-old man who was shot inside a house was still alive.
Florence, a city of about 38,000 people, is in the Pee Dee region of northeastern South Carolina that was drenched by heavy rains and flooding from Hurricane Florence last month.
“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,” Governor Henry McMaster said on Twitter.
President Donald Trump added in his own tweet: “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.”
Reporting by Frank McGurty in New York and Bill Tarrant in Los Angeles; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Peter Cooney