MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — A police officer was killed in South Carolina during an exchange of gunfire after responding to a domestic call, authorities said Sunday.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said in a statement that a second officer was injured during the shootout in Myrtle Beach. A suspect was later found dead. The second officer was taken to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.
Witnesses told The Sun News they heard several shots around 10 p.m. Saturday. Police had said on social media that an officer-involved shooting had occurred around that time.
Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock identified the fallen officer as Jacob Hancher.
Hancher was a community service officer for four years and had been a patrol officer for less than a year, Prock said. He was the first Myrtle Beach officer killed while on duty since 2002.
“He was a dedicated public servant who upheld his oath to protect this community and made the ultimate sacrifice,” Prock said.
Dozens of emergency vehicles responded as crowds gathered on streets and nearby hotel balconies to watch.
Daisey Stockbauer and Jody Bowles also live near the shooting and went outside when they heard the gunfire.
The two said when they went outside, they saw some police helping another officer limp away. The injured man sat near a fire hydrant and seconds later an ambulance picked him up.
“I wanted to go over and help him,” Stockbauer said.
Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune asked on social media for prayers for the police department.
“They need our community to show them love, support and strength,” Bethune said.
Some community members gathered for a prayer vigil outside police headquarters Sunday afternoon, local news outlets reported, while others left tokens at the site of the shooting.
Among the many who expressed condolences were Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and his November challenger, Democrat Jaime Harrison.
A nonprofit group raising money for Hancher’s family said he was survived by his mother, father, stepmother, sister and step-siblings. Hancher was a also a volunteer firefighter.