Gunman wounds NYC police officer inside station hours after ambushing patrol officers

By Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) – A gunman opened fire inside a New York City police station on Sunday, striking a lieutenant in the arm, some 12 hours after he had ambushed a patrol van in the same neighborhood, wounding an officer, police said.

The gunman was arrested at the police station. The two officers were being treated in hospital and were expected to fully recover from their wounds, officials said at a news conference.

“This was an attempt to assassinate two police officers … it was a premeditated effort to kill,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “An attack on a police officer is an attack on all of us.”

The gunman, whose name has not yet been released by authorities, entered the 41st Precinct headquarters in the Bronx borough just before 8 a.m. (1300 GMT), pulled out a .9mm hand gun and started firing at the front desk where several officers stood, officials said.

He then walked into an area next to the desk and fired several rounds at point blank range at several more officers and a civilian staffer, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

“It is only by the grace of God and heroic actions of those inside the building who took him into custody that we are not talking about police officers murdered,” he said.

“This coward immediately laid down but only after he ran out of bullets,” Shea said.

A lieutenant, who returned fire, was shot in the upper left arm.

On Saturday night a uniformed police officer who was sitting in his police van with his partner was shot by the same gunman, police said. He walked up to the vehicle and began a conversation with the two officers in the vehicle before suddenly opening fire, striking one policeman in the chin and neck, police said.

The officers did not return fire. The wounded officer’s partner got in the driver’s seat and drove him to the hospital.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; editing by Grant McCool)

Suspected gunman, 16, in California high school shooting dies in hospital

Suspected gunman, 16, in California high school shooting dies in hospital
(Reuters) – A teenage boy who killed two classmates and wounded three others at a southern California high school on his birthday before shooting himself in the head died on Friday of his wounds in hospital, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office said.

“Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow, 16, a Junior at Saugus High School, was being treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, when he succumbed to his injuries. His mother was present at the time of his passing,” the sheriff’s office said in a written statement.

The boy was carrying out a deliberate plan when he shot five students at his California high school, then turned the gun on himself, a local sheriff said on Friday, but authorities said they had no clues about what sparked the bloodshed.

Two of the other five students who were shot in the Thursday morning attack at the school in Santa Clarita died of their wounds.

“We did not find any manifesto, any diary that spelled it out,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a briefing.

The gunman was publicly identified by law enforcement for the first time on Friday as Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow.

Berhow initially survived his self-inflicted gunshot wound but died at a local hospital on 3:32 p.m. on Friday, according to the sheriff’s department.

Detectives worked through the night to follow up on tips related to the shooting in Santa Clarita, about 40 miles (65 km) north of Los Angeles. The incident, which was caught on video, unfolded in 16 seconds, police said.

ORIGIN OF GUN

Arriving at school on his 16th birthday, Berhow pulled a .45 semi-automatic pistol from his backpack in an outdoor courtyard, stood in one place and shot his victims in rapid succession before turning the gun and firing the last bullet into his head.

Villanueva said authorities did not know the origin of the gun used, or how the gunman got his hands on it.

All Hart District schools in Santa Clarita were closed on Friday, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s office said on Twitter, out of respect for the victims and their families.

Two girls aged 14 and 15 were being treated at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, California, and were listed in good and fair condition, a hospital spokeswoman said early on Friday.

At the Henry Mayo Hospital in Santa Clarita, authorities said a 14-year-old boy was treated and released. Two other students who had been taken there died. A hospital spokesman could not immediately be reached on Friday.

Villanueva identified one of the students killed as Gracie Anne Muehlberger, 15. He said the families of the other student killed and those wounded did not authorize him to release their names.

The scene at Saugus High School was reminiscent of other mass shootings at U.S. schools, including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student with an assault rifle killed 17 people on Feb. 14, 2018.

It was the 85th incident of gunfire at a school this year, according to Everytown, a gun control advocacy group.

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Austin, Texas and Dan Whitcomb in Culver City, California; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Sandra Maler)

Texas gunman who killed seven had previously failed background check for firearm

A man holds flowers and a candle as people gather for a vigil following Saturday's shooting in Odessa, Texas, U.S. September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – The gunman who killed seven people and wounded 23 others in a rolling rampage across West Texas obtained an assault-style rifle despite failing a background check, state and law enforcement officials said on Monday.

The gunman, identified by police as Seth Aaron Ator, 36, carried out the shooting spree in the neighboring cities of Midland and Odessa on Saturday, a short time after he was fired from his trucking job. He called local emergency 911 responders and then an FBI tip line to make rambling statements, officials said.

In those calls, Ator did not threaten to commit violence, they said.

But he would soon go on to open fire on civilians and police officers in a roving series of shootings, at one point hijacking a U.S. Postal Service truck before dying in an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement, police said.

It was the second mass shooting in Texas in four weeks, and the state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott, expressed frustration on Monday the suspect had a firearm.

“We must keep guns out of criminals’ hands,” Abbott said on Twitter.

Ator was rejected when he tried to buy a gun and his name was run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, John Wester, assistant special agent in charge of the Dallas office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told a news conference.

Authorities could not immediately say how he obtained a firearm, Wester added.

It also was not immediately clear when or why he had failed the background check. Online court records showed Ator had convictions in 2002 for criminal trespass and evading arrest.

But Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke told a news conference on Monday that Ator’s past interactions with police in that area, where the gunman lived, were not serious enough to have legally prevented him from having a firearm.

President Donald Trump over the weekend called the Odessa-Midland shooter “a very sick person,” but said increased background checks on gun buyers would not have prevented many mass shootings in the United States in the past few years.

Democrats in Congress want to close loopholes that under federal law, allow certain people to sell firearms without requiring background checks, such as in sales conducted online, at gun shows or out of their homes.

Trump said last month he had spoken to the National Rifle Association gun rights group about closing loopholes in background checks but he did not want to take away the constitutional right to own guns.

PULLED OVER

Hours after he was fired from his trucking job and 15 minutes after he called the FBI tip line, Ator was pulled over in a sedan by Texas state troopers on Interstate 20 in Midland for failing to use a turn signal, police said.

Armed with an AR-type rifle, Ator fired out the back window of his gold-colored car, wounding one trooper. Then he drove away spraying gunfire indiscriminately, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

At one point, Ator abandoned his car and hijacked a U.S. postal van, mortally wounding the letter carrier, identified by officials as Mary Grandos, 29.

He shot seven people to death, leaving behind a trail of 15 crime scenes with 23 other people wounded in the rampage, officials said.

Three police officers were shot and wounded – one from Midland, one from Odessa and one state trooper – all in stable condition at hospitals.

Ator was later cornered by officers in the parking lot of a cinema complex in Odessa where he was shot and killed.

The FBI has scoured Ator’s home, Christopher Combs, special agent in charge of the FBI office in San Antonio, told a news conference on Monday.

“I can tell you the conditions reflect what we believe his mental state was going into this,” Combs said.

“He was on a long spiral of going down. He didn’t wake up Saturday morning and walk into his company and then it happened. He went into that company in trouble. He’s probably been in trouble for a while,” Combs said.

The rampage came about a month after a gunman from the Dallas area killed 22 people on Aug. 3 at a Walmart store about 255 miles (410 km) west of Midland in El Paso, Texas.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Peter Cooney)

Vermont capitol on lockdown after person with gun enters state building: official

FILE PHOTO: People walk past a sign prohibiting firearms and weapons inside the State Legislature in Montpelier, Vermont, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

(Reuters) – Vermont state office buildings in Montpelier were on lockdown on Friday after a person with a gun was seen entering the complex, the governor’s office said in a statement.

“Evacuation and shelter-in-place procedures were activated, per state security procedures,” the statement from the office of Governor Phil Scott said.

Police from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies were responding, the statement said.

However, the state Department of Human Resources issued a statement saying, “our understanding is that the situation is well under control and not a danger,” according to WCAX TV in Burlington. It did not provide more details.

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston and Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Chris Reese and Steve Orlofsky)

FBI opens domestic terror investigation into Gilroy, Calif., mass shooting

FILE PHOTO: A painting by Gilroy resident Ignacio "Nacho" Moya on the stage at a vigil for those who died and were injured at the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival a day earlier, in Gilroy, California, U.S. July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Kate Munsch

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – The FBI has opened a domestic terrorism investigation into a California mass shooting by a 19-year-old gunman who killed three people at a food festival last week, officials said on Tuesday.

Authorities have said they still do not know what motivated Santino William Legan, 19, to fire an assault-style rifle into a crowd in Gilroy, California, on July 28. His victims included a 6-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl.

Police officers exchanged gunfire with Legan, who was wearing a bullet-resistant vest, and struck him, Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said at a news conference on Tuesday. Legan killed himself with a gunshot to the head.

Investigators have discovered he kept a list that appeared to have targets of violence, John Bennett, the FBI agent in charge in the San Francisco office, told the news conference.

One of those potential targets was the one he attacked, the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, Bennett said. The decades-old event celebrates produce from California’s countryside and is held about 70 miles (110 km) south of San Francisco.

“The shooter appeared to have an interest in varying, competing violent ideologies,” Bennett told reporters.

“Due to the discovery of the target list, as well as other information we have encountered in this investigation, the FBI has opened a full domestic terrorism investigation into this mass shooting.”

RACIST TREATISE

Before the shooting, Legan had posted on his Instagram page a photograph showing a sign warning of a high danger of forest fires. Its caption urged people to read “Might is Right,” a racist and sexist treatise written in the 19th century.

FBI investigators are considering Legan’s Instagram posts as they seek to determine his motivation and are exploring whether he was motivated by white nationalism, Bennett said.

Legan’s target list, which he kept on at least one digital device, had organizations from across the country and included religious institutions and political organizations affiliated with both the Democratic and Republican parties, Bennett said.

Legan left no manifesto, Bennett said, declining to provide other details on his ideological leanings.

Legan fired 39 rounds and the three officers who confronted him fired 18, Smithee said, and Legan had more than 200 rounds of ammunition on or near his body.

Legan’s family in a statement on Tuesday apologized to the families of the three people he killed and to the wounded, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We have never and would never condone the hateful thoughts and ideologies that led to this event, and it is impossible to reconcile this with the son we thought we knew,” the statement said.

Members of Legan’s family could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; editing by Bill Tarrant and Jonathan Oatis)

Urged to ‘do something,’ Ohio governor backs ‘red flag’ law

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine reacts as vigil attendees shout “Do Something” while he was speaking at a vigil at the scene after a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, U.S. August 4, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

By Matthew Lavietes

(Reuters) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine proposed a “red flag” law that would allow authorities to take guns away from people who may harm themselves or others, responding to pressure for him to “do something” after a mass shooting in Dayton that killed nine people.

The Republican governor said he supported legislation that would allow judges to temporarily confiscate guns from individuals believed by police or their relatives to be a danger, and to provide them with mental health treatment.

“We have an obligation to each other,” DeWine said at a news briefing. “If someone is showing signs of trouble or problems, we must help and we must not turn away.”

DeWine spoke three days after a gunman wearing body armor and a mask opened fire in a crowded Dayton, Ohio, neighborhood known for its nightlife early on Sunday. It was the second deadly U.S. mass shooting in less than a day.

The governor was heckled on Sunday night as he spoke at a vigil for the victims of the rampage. Protesters repeatedly chanted “Do something!,” a reference to perceived state and federal inaction to curb U.S. gun violence.

“Some chanted ‘Do something!’ and they’re absolutely right,” DeWine said on Tuesday. “We must do something, and that is exactly what we’re going to do.”

Gun control is one of the most divisive issues in American politics. Supporters of tighter restrictions say they are necessary to staunch a U.S. epidemic of gun violence, while opponents believe more controls would violate gun ownership rights under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

In an address to the nation on Monday, President Donald Trump also backed “red flag” laws to allow guns to be taken away from dangerous individuals. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia currently have such laws in place, according to the Giffords gun-control group.

The president proposed tighter monitoring of the internet, mental health reform and wider use of the death penalty in response to the two mass shootings over the weekend that left 32 people dead in Texas and Ohio.

Police named the Ohio gunman as Connor Betts, a 24-year-old white male from Bellbrook, Ohio, and said he was armed with an assault-style rifle fitted with an extended drum magazine that could hold 100 rounds.

The killings in Dayton began at around 1 a.m. on Sunday in the city’s Oregon District and ended rapidly when nearby police moved in and shot Betts dead. At least 14 people were wounded by gunfire, while others were injured as they fled. Six of the nine people killed were black.

The gunman shot at least 41 bullets in the seconds before he was killed, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl told reporters on Monday. Police officers ended the rampage in about 30 seconds, Biehl said on Sunday.

Investigators were still trying to determine a motive, Biehl said. FBI agents were helping police.

The shooting in Dayton, a riverfront city of about 140,000 people in southwestern Ohio, took place just 13 hours after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, where 22 people were killed. The 21-year-old suspect in that shooting was arrested.

Sunday’s massacre occurred a week after a teenager killed three people with an assault rifle at a food festival in Northern California before taking his own life.

(Reporting by Matthew Lavietes in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Long before shooting, Dayton gunman threatened fellow students with ‘hit list’

A mourner leaves a candle at the scene of a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, U.S. August 4, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

(Reuters) – The 24-year-old gunman who killed nine people in a rampage in Dayton, Ohio had a troubled past, including threatening fellow students in high school, authorities said, but police said it was too soon to establish a motive for the slaughter.

The gunman, wielding an assault-style rifle and wearing body armor and a mask, inflicted carnage on a neighborhood known for its night life.

Police identified the shooter as Connor Betts, 24, of Bellbrook, Ohio, a Dayton suburb. He was the third young man to take a rifle and go on a public killing spree in the United States within a span of a week, unleashing fresh alarm at the national crisis of mass shootings.

The slaughter in Dayton began at around 1 a.m. on Sunday in the city’s Oregon District and ended very rapidly when police who were nearby moved in and shot him dead. Those killed included Betts’ sister, and least 27 people were wounded.

“We are very, very early in this investigation,” Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl told a news conference on Sunday. “Any suggestion at this time of motive would be irresponsible.”

“We do not have sufficient information to answer the question everyone wants to know, ‘Why?'” Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation are helping police.

Betts had been troubled in high school, at one point drawing up a “hit list” of students he wanted to kill or otherwise harm, authorities said.

He also had a history of threatening women who spurned his advances, CNN reported. News media reported that at one point in high school he was taken off a school bus by police.

Apart from his high school troubles, Betts had been issued tickets for speeding and other minor traffic offenses, police said.

He had been studying psychology at a community college and working at a Chipotle restaurant. In an online profile, Betts reportedly described himself as “Good under pressure. Fast learner. Eager to overachieve.”

Nothing in Betts’ record precluded him from purchasing the assault-style weapon, which had been modified since it was sold, the police chief said.

The rifle was fitted with an extended drum magazine that could hold 100 rounds. The gun was bought legally online from a dealer in Texas and shipped to a local firearms dealer, police said.

Betts’ sister Megan Betts, 22, was one of the first to be killed. Biehl said the siblings had arrived in the same vehicle with a third person earlier in the evening but separated before the rampage.

The companion was wounded in the shooting, police said.

The shooting in Dayton, a riverfront city of about 140,000 people in southwestern Ohio, took place just 13 hours after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, where 20 people were killed and 26 others wounded. The 21-year-old suspect in that shooting was arrested.

‘NIGHTMARE’ FOR PARENTS

Responding to the attacks, U.S. President Donald Trump called on lawmakers to pass new background checks laws for buying guns, and suggested any such legislation might also include greater restrictions on immigration.

“We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!” he wrote on Twitter on Monday morning ahead of planned remarks on the subject.

Those killed in Dayton were four women and five men and ranged in age from 22 to 57, authorities said. Six of the nine were African-American.

“There isn’t much discrimination in the shooting,” Assistant Police Chief Matt Carper told reporters. “It happened in a very short period of time.”

One of those killed, Nicholas Cumer, was a week shy of completing his internship at Maple Tree Cancer Alliance, a non-profit patient care center in Dayton.

The center said in a statement it had offered Cumer a full-time job last week. “He loved his patients and served them well, with a loving and caring spirit,” the statement said. Two of his colleagues were also shot and expected to make a full recovery.

A vigil attendee holds a sign during a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, U.S. August 4, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

A vigil attendee holds a sign during a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, U.S. August 4, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

Lois Oglesby, a nursing student with a newborn child and a young daughter, was also killed, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Biehl said Betts’ parents were having a tough time. “This is a nightmare for them and I think they are struggling as I think you can understand,” he said at the news conference.

Of the 27 people injured, four remained in serious condition and one person in critical, medical authorities said.

The Ohio shooting came seven days after a teenager killed three people with an assault rifle at a food festival in Northern California before taking his own life.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Kim Palmer in Columbus; Additional reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver, Jonathan Allen in New York and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Additional writing by Brendan O’Brien; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Steve Orlofsky)

Connecticut school evacuated for bomb threat on sixth anniversary of massacre

FILE PHOTO: The sign for the new Sandy Hook Elementary School at the end of the drive leading to the school is pictured in Newtown, Connecticut, U.S. July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin/File Photo

By Gabriella Borter

(Reuters) – A bomb threat prompted the evacuation of a Connecticut elementary school on the site of the deadliest public-school shooting in U.S. history on Friday, the sixth anniversary of the massacre, police said.

Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where 26 children and educators were killed in 2012, received a threatening phone call around 9 a.m. EST, said police Lieutenant Aaron Bahamonde.

“It was a bomb threat over the phone,” Bahamonde said. About 400 people were evacuated, he said. No bomb was found.

Bahamonde said the threat was unrelated to a Thursday incident in which hundreds of schools, businesses and buildings across the United States and Canada receive email bomb threats demanding payment in cryptocurrency. Authorities dismissed those threats as a hoax.

On Dec. 14, 2012, a 21-year-old gunman killed 20 young children and six educators at Sandy Hook before taking his own life. The building where the massacre took place was torn down, and Sandy Hook students now attend classes in a new facility.

The mass shooting inflamed the long-running U.S. debate on gun rights, which are protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The United States has experienced a string of deadly mass shootings since that attack, including one at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in February that left 17 people dead.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)

Strasbourg reopens Christmas market after attacker shot dead

A man dressed as Father Christmas poses with a tourist outside the Cathedral in Strasbourg, France, December 14, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

By Gilbert Reilhac

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) – Strasbourg reopened its traditional Christmas market under heavy security on Friday, the morning after French police shot dead a gunman suspected of killing four people in the heart of the historic city.

Cherif Chekatt, 29, was killed in the Neudorf neighborhood of Strasbourg after firing on police, ending a two-day manhunt that involved more than 700 members of the security forces.

The attack on Strasbourg’s cherished Christmas market, a target full of religious symbolism, evoked France’s difficulties in integrating western Europe’s largest Muslim minority and dealing with homegrown militants inspired by Islamic State.

“It’s reopening just in time,” said stall-holder Bernard Kuntz, preparing his scarves and stoles imported from India ahead of the expected arrival of French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, who was expected to speak.

“We were getting worried. Some of the guys have taken out loans to be here, and we’ve already lost two days.”

On Friday, a fourth victim died as a result of the wounds they received in what Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries said was indisputably an act of terrorism.

Ries expressed relief that Chekatt had been killed and said everyone in Strasbourg, on eastern France’s Rhine river border with Germany, felt the same.

French troops, who have been used to bolster national security since a wave of Islamic State-inspired attacks began in France in 2015, stood guard at the open-air market.

“I think it will help to get back to a life that I would describe as normal,” Ries told reporters after the news that Chekatt had been killed. “With the death of this terrorist … citizens, like me, are relieved.”

EXTRA 1,800 TROOPS ON MARKET PATROLS

Islamic State (IS) claimed Chekatt as one of its soldiers, saying he “carried out the operation in response to calls for citizens of coalition countries” fighting the militant group.

IS provided no evidence for the claim and Castaner called it “opportunistic”.

“Nothing indicates that (Chekatt) was part of a network. There is nothing to suggest that he was being protected by such, but the investigation is not yet over,” Castaner told Europe 1.

He described Chekatt as a long-time delinquent whose Islamic beliefs were radicalized during previous periods in prison. Police were still interrogating seven associates on Friday, including his parents, to determine whether he had accomplices.

France ramped up its security threat to its highest level after Chekatt struck late on Tuesday. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe promised an extra 1,800 troops would be put on patrols with a special focus on Christmas markets.

The outdoor market in Strasbourg, centered around a towering Christmas Tree in Place Kleber, draws more than 2 million visitors each year. Christmas markets have been a feature of the Alsatian city since the early 15th century.

The Strasbourg shooting was the latest in a succession of attacks linked to Islamist militancy in France going back to 2012. Since January 2015, more than 240 people have been killed in attacks on French soil, most of them in 2015-16.

(Reporting by Gilbert Reilhac in Strasbourg and Emmanuel Jarry and John Irish in Paris; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

South Carolina shooting spree leaves one officer dead, six wounded

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

By Harriet McLeod

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) – Seven law enforcement officers were shot, one fatally, when a gunman unleashed a hail of fire on police from inside a home on Wednesday near Florence, South Carolina, sparking a two-hour siege that ended with the suspect’s arrest, authorities said.

Details of the shooting and how it ended remained sketchy. But Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone said several of his deputies came under attack as they tried to serve an otherwise routine search warrant in the Vintage Place subdivision on the city’s western edge.

Withering gunfire continued as scores of police converged on the area amid reports of an “active shooter” and deployed armored personnel carriers to provide cover for the wounded and move them from harm’s way, officials said.

“Fire was being shot all over,” Boone told reporters. “The way the suspect was positioned, his view of fire was several hundred yards, so he had an advantage.”

An unspecified number of children who were inside the home with the gunman were all accounted for and safe after the suspect was taken into custody, ending a two-hour standoff, said Major Michael Nunn, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.

The outset of the confrontation was captured in a recording of emergency radio transmissions posted online by The State newspaper, in which 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 being fired at this time,” the dispatcher said.

At a news conference hours later, Boone confirmed that three county sheriff’s deputies and four Florence city police officers were struck by gunfire in the incident and that one of the city officers had died.

The conditions of the six surviving wounded officers were not immediately known, though officials indicated some were badly injured.

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 Harriet McLeod in Charleston, S.C.; Additional reporting by Frank McGurty in New York and Bill Tarrant in Los Angeles; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Peter Cooney and Darren Schuettler)