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Friends and police officers remembered Florence police Sgt. Terrence Carraway as brave, funny, compassionate and a gentle giant.
”To meet him you know him, to know him you got no choice but to love him. He was more than just a police officer, he was a legend,” said Tislam Blathers, one of Carraway’s sons.
Blathers said Carraway inspired him to wear a law enforcement uniform and wanted to deliver a final salute. Blathers then raised his right hand to his forehead and turned to Carraway’s flag-draped casket.
The move drew an ovation from thousands in attendance for Carraway’s Monday funeral.
Carraway died and six other officers were injured in an ambush-style attack last week. Police charged Fred Hopkins, 74, with one count of murder and six counts of attempted murder in the shooting.
The funeral mixed somber moments with joyous celebrations. It was a mood that echoed Carraway’s personality — firm when needed, but a smile that is always the first trait friends mention.
The 30-year Florence Police Department veteran believed evil trumped love when good people did nothing, said Rev. Cecil Bromell.
“We’re here because a good man did something,” Bromell said, while also calling for an end of senseless gun violence.
Carraway did not hesitate to go to the shooting scene because that was his personality, Darlington Police Chief Kelvin Washington said.
“For those of us that had the pleasure of working with him you know he didn’t have the fear of anything,” Washington said.
Terry Gainey, with the Palmetto Law Enforcement Officers Association, said Carraway would not have changed anything about the day he died and nobody was going to stop him from protecting others.
”He was a hero long before last Wednesday,” Gainey said.
Carraway motivated, spread compassion and carried an infectious smile.
“Terrence Carraway, you met one time and he made a mark on your heart,” Gainey said. “He loved his community, he loved the city of Florence.”
Thousands from Florence, and Carraway’s hometown of Darlington, attended a public visitation before the ceremony. The community knew Carraway not just from his patrols, but coaching youth football, working at a kids’ camp and singing in the church choir.
Residents said their goodbyes to Carraway, whose coffin was lined with the flag of his beloved Oakland Raiders.
”I stand before you on behalf of a broken city,” Florence Mayor Steve Wukela said, speaking on behalf of South Carolina elected officials. “We stand before you to offer you and your family the thanks of a grateful nation.”
Carraway’s temperament blended firmness with a smile that brought peace to any situation, Wukela said.
Florence County Sheriff Sgt. Stevie Mumford was 20 years old when he first met Carraway. He laughed as he remembered how Carraway was willing to help and provide ride-alongs, even if Mumford annoyed him with phone calls for taking too long to arrive.
That joyous mood though quickly turned as Mumford broke down as he said he lost his “forever friend.”
”Forever has no ending,” Mumford said, fighting through tears. “So I say to you my forever friend, you will always have a place in my heart. My forever friend, Sgt. Terrence Carraway.”