Four York County law enforcement officers were shot and injured in an overnight domestic violence call and manhunt outside York, S.C., and the suspect also fired on and hit a helicopter, police said.
The helicopter, from the State Law Enforcement Division, took gunfire while in the air, searching for the suspect who attacked officers, a SLED spokesman said.
Three of the injured officers were York County Sheriff’s Office deputies. One is a K-9 officer who was searching for the suspect; two others were members of the York County SWAT team who were called to work the incident, police said.
The fourth injured officer is a York Police Department officer, said York Police Chief Andy Robinson.
York County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Trent Faris and Robinson did not release the names and conditions of the officers Tuesday morning.
The suspect in the shootings, Christian Thomas McCall, 47, was also shot, said Faris.
Robinson said by telephone, from Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, that dozens of police officers were at the hospital.
“This is the worst-case scenario for officers and their families, and right now we are concerned about all of them,” Robinson said. “This is what we hope never happens.”
Thom Berry, a State Law Enforcement Division spokesman, said McCall has an arrest from Florence County in 1994, but as of Tuesday he had no other information on McCall’s criminal history.
Police were called to a domestic incident on Farrier Lane outside York at about 10:10 p.m. Monday, Faris said.
The suspect had fled the scene, and K-9 units were called to track the suspect, Faris said.
The York County K-9 officer was shot during the search and was taken in a patrol car to Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, Faris said.
Several police agencies then started searching for the suspect, Faris said. Shots were fired again at about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday and three more officers – two York County sheriff’s deputies and the York police officer – were hit, Faris said.
Two injured officers were airlifted to CMC, and one was taken by ground to the hospital, Faris said.
The SLED helicopter was carrying two pilots when it came under fire during the search, said Berry. The officers on the helicopter were not injured but the helicopter’s rear stabilizer was hit, Berry said.
SLED has several teams of agents working the case, with sheriff’s deputies and other police.
“We have agents from the Piedmont and Midlands at the crime scene, agents at the hospitals, and agents in other areas of the investigation,” Berry said.
16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett, the top prosecutor for York County, said information is still being gathered and it is too early to talk about what charges might develop against the suspect.
Brackett said his immediate concern is for the officers and their families.
“These officers were wounded, and our concern is their condition, and that their families are being taken care of,” Brackett said.
Former York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant, now a S.C. House of Representatives member, said he “is sickened and devastated that four law enforcement officers were shot while trying to protect the public.”
Bryant was sheriff from 1997 through the end of 2016, and supervised three of the wounded officers.
“This is a terrible and unacceptable situation for law enforcement and for the people of York County,” Bryant said.
S.C. Rep. Tommy Pope, a former police officer and former top prosecutor for York County, said the shooting of law enforcement officers will not be tolerated.
“The shooting of four brave, courageous officers is an attack on them and their families, but it is also an attack on our society,” Pope said.
York Mayor Eddie Lee said the attack must not be tolerated.
“When officers are attacked, the community is attacked,” Lee said. “We are all appalled by this shooting of four courageous people.”
The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating, Faris said.
“Our main concern is for our guys who in the hospital right now,” Faris said. “We could really use your prayers, and we could really use your thoughts right now for those officers.”
Officers from surrounding areas went to the scene and to hospitals in both Charlotte and Rock Hill to assist and support the injured officers, including chiefs of police from Rock Hill, Tega Cay, and Rock Hill.
© 2018 The Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.)
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