Man ambushed officers coming to question adult son, Florence authorities say

FLORENCE, S.C. — A 74-year-old Vietnam War veteran who won a military sharpshooting decoration ambushed police officers coming to his South Carolina home to question his adult son about a child sexual assault, killing one and wounding six others, the sheriff investigating the case said Friday.

Channel 9 has learned the FBI will join the investigation into the standoff that happened in Florence.

Terrence Carraway, the 52-year-old veteran officer killed in the line of duty, will be honored by the city of Florence with a public viewing on Monday.

A memorial was held at First Baptist Church Thursday in Florence about 24 hours after Carraway was killed and six others were wounded.

Nearly every seat was filled at the South Carolina church, full of people grieving after police said a man opened fire at law enforcement officers.

Members of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte read a scripture at the memorial.

Livingstone College officials said Carraway attended the school in the mid-1980s, and he will be honored at this weekend’s homecoming ceremonies.

The Rev. Cecil Bromell, Carraway’s pastor in Darlington, gave an emotional speech at the memorial.

He talked about how Carraway demonstrated so much love and encouraged everyone to take a piece of that love back to their community.

“I believe brother Carraway’s death, if it means anything to us, it should mean that. Be that badge of love, be that person who says, 'We got enough hateful people in the world, they don’t need another,'” Bromell said. “I’m going to show that badge of love.”

Two wounded city police officers have been released from the hospital. A third officer was listed in serious but stable condition.

There’s no word on the conditions of the three wounded sheriff's deputies.

The suspect in the shooting of the seven law enforcement officers has been identified as Frederick Hopkins, 74, who has been charged several times in recent years, starting with a 2014 count of disorderly conduct.

(Frederick Hopkins)

Florence County investigators called Hopkins' home and arranged to speak to his 27-year-old adopted son, Seth Hopkins, about a sex assault investigation Wednesday afternoon, Lott said, adding that they had a search warrant.

According to officials, the gunman is hospitalized with a head injury after falling at the scene and is unable to speak with officers.

Officials said Hopkins lost his law license in the 1980s over $18,000 in wrongfully collected attorney fees.

[York County sheriff sends condolences to Florence officers]

Court documents show that in 1984 he was allowed to pay back the debt and surrender his license rather than serve a six-month jail term.

According to Facebook posts from Hopkins, he started shooting competitively around the same time he was disbarred.

Court records also show he was injured in Vietnam and received disability payments.

According to The State Newspaper, Hopkins also had two son involved in law enforcement. One son is an officer in Orangeburg County and another was a deputy in Lexington County, but left the department earlier this year.

Seth Hopkins was charged Friday with second-degree criminal sexual conduct. Authorities didn't immediately release details about the crime. Lott said he also ended up in the hospital after the shooting but should be released Friday.

[GALLERY: Multiple officers shot in Florence, S.C.]

Maj. Mike Nunn, with the Florence County Sheriff's Department, said officers were serving a warrant around 4 p.m. Wednesday when the suspect began shooting, wounding three deputies.

Four more officers were shot while trying to respond to the initial gunfire, said Allen Heidler, the Florence police chief.

City of Florence spokesman John Wukela said Carraway, who recently received his 30-year service pin, died of his injuries.

"I want you to pray for the family who lost the bravest police officer I have ever known," Heidler said, visibly overcome by emotion at a news conference.

"His determination, his humility, his humor and his courage,” Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela said.

Carraway had a heart for underprivileged children, teaching them to swim and starting a summer camp.

Councilwoman Pat Gibson-Hye Moore is involved in the camp. She found out about Carraway’s death Wednesday night from a Facebook post.

"I screamed on the street, and she was calming me down because the family members hadn't been contacted yet."

Officers said the suspect barricaded himself in his home with children inside.

Sources said Hopkins had a high-powered rifle that he fired from a second-floor window.

The sheriff's armored personnel carrier was brought in to recover the wounded during Wednesday's two-hour standoff, and the shooter finally released the children as he was taken into custody, authorities said.

"Officers went there unknowing the firepower the suspect had," Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone said at a news conference.

"Fire was being shot all over. The way this suspect was positioned, his view of fire was several hundred yards. So he had an advantage. The officers couldn't get to the ones who were down."

Florence County Chief Deputy Glenn Kirby said officers were trying to serve a warrant involving an accusation that a 27-year-old person at the home sexually assaulted a foster child in the home.

"Reassured in knowledge that officer that passed were so doing what they loved, protecting this community," Wukela said.

Mayor Wukela insisted there were no more threats against the Florence community.

"Safe because of those officers and deputies who are willing to put themselves in harm’s way," he said.

Heidler said on Thursday that two of his officers were released from the hospital and another remains in serious condition.

“They will be scarred for a long period of time,” Heidler said.

He was emotional telling reporters that the rest of his officers wouldn’t accept outside help to do their jobs on Thursday, patrolling the streets.

"They didn't want me to call other people. They didn't want me to call other agencies that have offered support. They said ‘No chief, we've got it.’"

Heidler didn't know the condition of the wounded deputies.

Condolences and outpourings of support rolled in at news of the shooting.

"This is simply devastating news from Florence," Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted. "The selfless acts of bravery from the men and women in law enforcement is real, just like the power of prayer is real."

McMaster has also ordered flags lowered to half-staff.

He announced on Twitter Thursday that the lowering shows "respect for the law enforcement officers who were senselessly shot" the previous day in Florence.

McMaster asked South Carolinians to reflect on the officers' sacrifice.

A candlelight vigil Thursday night is being arranged to honor the victims.

Thom Berry, spokesman for the State Law Enforcement Division, said the agency sent crime scene technicians to assist officials in Florence but at this time had not been requested to help with any investigation.

Boone said investigators from Richland County would help investigate the shooting. He did not say why he wasn't using state police like most law enforcement agencies do in officer shootings in South Carolina.

Authorities said the shootings happened in Vintage Place, an upscale neighborhood west of the city. Neighbors said the community is full of brick homes and well-kept yards. Property records show several houses valued at more than $400,000.

One neighbor told Channel 9 he was trying to get home Wednesday when it all started.

"During that time, I could hear rapid gunfire, a lot of gunfire,” neighbor Jack Cochrane said. “It was like, and I don't mean to put it like this because I'm a Vietnam veteran, but it was like combat."

Bobby Goin stood outside Wednesday, waiting for police to let him back into his home where his wife and granddaughter heard gunshots from the home farther back in the neighborhood.

"Surprised is probably an understatement," Goin said of the shooting in the neighborhood where he has lived for 20 years. "The worst thing that goes on around here is that someone runs a stop sign and it gets posted on Facebook."

This is the second shooting of multiple police officers in South Carolina this year. In January, a 47-year-old former banker shot four officers in York County, killing one, Detective Mike Doty, after his wife called 911 to report he beat her. Christian McCall pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life without parole.

Officer killed in York County:

Florence, a city in South Carolina's northeastern corner that is home to roughly 37,000 people, sits at the convergence of interstates 95 and 20. It's the largest city in the region known as the Pee Dee, an area recently affected by heavy flooding in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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