MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – First responders and loved ones are paying their respects to Myrtle Beach police officer Jacob Hancher, who was shot and killed last weekend.
A public visitation was held for officer Hancher, who was 23 years old, at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center on Thursday.
“We were very, very saddened,” said Steve Baughman, who lives in the city. “Our condolences go out to his family.”
Myrtle Beach police say while responding to a domestic call Saturday night, officer Hancher was shot and killed by 20-year-old John Aycoth, who also died. Officer Andrew Wangstad was shot and had “non-life-threatening” injuries.
Hundreds of police officers, firefighters and those supporting Hancher’s family mourned his death at the visitation.
“A terrible crime has been done to a 23-year-old young man,” said Steve Baughman.
“They put their lives on the line so often and just responding to a domestic violence call can end their lives,” said Debbie Baughman, who’s Steve’s wife.
Pictures of Hancher as a boy were shown near his open casket, where those at the visitation prayed for him.
“I come to give my support to the family,” said Rev. Raymond Johnson of Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Marion.
Rev. Johnson says he traveled from Marion to offer prayers to the Hanchers and first responders, as well as prayers for peace.
“I’ve been preaching for over 50 years and every time a young person gets killed, it hurts,” Rev. Johnson said. “We pray that God will just change things and young folks can just get rid of these guns.”
Hancher is the first Myrtle Beach officer killed in the line of duty since 2002.
“When Joe McGarry was shot and killed, it was the same thing,” said Buddy Styers, who lives in the city. “The outpouring of the community to not only let his family know what we think of the sacrifice he made, but what the rest of the police can look around and see how the community feels.”
A public funeral will be held at the convention center at 2 p.m. Friday. News13 will have live coverage of the funeral on TV and online. Gov. Henry McMaster also ordered the flags on all state buildings to fly at half-staff in Hancher’s honor from sunrise until sunset Friday.
Officer Hancher’s body will then return to his hometown of Waldorf, Maryland, where he’ll be buried on Tuesday.