‘This is a tragedy’: Residents, law enforcement mourn shooting death of Myrtle Beach police officer

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – Hundreds of people across the Grand Strand mourned Myrtle Beach police officer Jacob Hancher’s killing Monday, as members of law enforcement led an eight-hour, 200-mile procession.

The Myrtle Beach Police Department says officer Hancher was shot and killed while responding to a domestic call near 14th Avenue South at around 10 p.m. Saturday. The Horry County Coroner says the suspect in the shooting, 20-year old John Aycoth of Myrtle Beach, was also shot and killed. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is investigating.

Hancher’s autopsy was performed at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston. While in the Lowcounty, dozens of officers followed his body across the iconic Ravenel Bridge and up the Grand Strand.

Hancher was a community services officer for four years and recently became a police officer less than a year ago.

“It’s just disbelief, shock, especially with everything that’s happened this year,” said Mayor Brenda Bethune.

When arriving in Myrtle Beach, firefighters saluted officer Hancher from overpasses along U.S. Highway 17 Bypass. Hancher also volunteered for Horry County Fire Rescue.

Hancher then returned to the police headquarters, where hundreds of his fellow officers and others showed their appreciation.

“We’re here to support the men and women who keep our community safe,” said Deborah Gilnack, whose daughter works in the records office at MBPD. “This is a tragedy.”

Gilnack say she and her daughter will remember officer Hancher as a happy and caring man.

“We’re just very sorry for the loss of the police department and this community because, as my daughter called him, he’s a big teddy bear who just loved what he did,” said Gilnack.

The procession ended as officer Hancher’s body was brought to McMillan-Small Funeral Home on Myrtle Beach’s north end.

Hancher was the first city police officer killed since 2002.

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