Suspect in custody after exchange of gunfire with Florence officers; 3 officers on paid leave

Pee Dee Crime

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – A suspect is in custody following an exchange of gunfire in the 500 block of Brunson Street in Florence.

Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler tells News13 that Frederick Whitley and officers exchanged gunfire. Officers were serving a warrant for Whitley for possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine Monday evening at around 5:30. Whitley was also wanted for an outstanding General Sessions bench warrant for drug charges.

Frederick Whitley (Courtesy: Florence County Detention Center)

Chief Heidler says there were no injuries and that Whitley surrendered to officers.

Three officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard protocol. Five officers were shot at in the incident, three of whom returned fire.

SLED has been called in to investigate the incident.

This comes just over one year after the Vintage Place ambush where Frederick Hopkins allegedly opened fire on officers serving a warrant at his home in relation to his son Seth Hopkins. Seven law-enforcement officers were shot in that incident, FPD Officer Terrence Carraway and FCSO Investigator Farrah Turner died from their injuries.

Chief Heidler tells us Monday’s incident brought up memories of that day one year ago, “October 3rd (2018) was extremely tragic and momentous for our agency and having a tremendous impact any time a situation of this nature where you have officers that are placed in harms way by gunfire you can’t help but bring back memories.”

Count on News13 for updates.


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