Mourners honor Sgt. Terrence Carraway, killed in Florence, South Carolina ambush

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Hundreds of friends, family and fellow officers gathered in South Carolina to remember the love, passion and courage of a police officer whose chief said he died trying to save three other wounded officers in a barrage of gunfire.

Fellow police officers, a young person he mentored into a military career and one of his fellow church deacons spoke Monday about a giant of a man with a giant heart too.

One friend had no doubt Florence Police Sgt. Terrence Carraway, 52, didn’t hesitate Wednesday to try to save three Florence County deputies who authorities said were shot in an ambush in an upscale Florence neighborhood by the father of a man officers wanted to question about a sex assault on a child.

“Never be afraid of anything – and even if you are afraid, don’t let anyone know,” Darlington Police Chief Kelvin Washington said, repeating the advice Carraway gave him when he started in policing.

There were tears from big men in uniform. There were shaky hands giving salutes to the Air Force veteran. There was a brother remembering how his brother got him out of jams.

And there was Michael Wright II, a deacon with Carraway at Macedonia Baptist Church in nearby Darlington, saying he broke down in sobs on the way to Florence’s civic center because someone offered him a Mentos candy. Every time Carraway saw him, Wright said that was the candy he offered.

“That was our small connection. And he made sure everyone had a small connection to him,” Wright said.

Before the funeral, hundreds came by Carraway’s open casket. He was wearing his dress police uniform with the bottom half of his casket draped in an American flag. The logo of his favorite NFL team, the Oakland Raiders, was on the inside of the casket’s lid. An organ and trumpet played mournful jazz.

Carraway was killed and six other officers wounded by 74-year-old Frederick Hopkins in his upscale Florence County neighborhood Wednesday, investigators said.

Hopkins first ambushed three Florence County deputies coming for a prearranged interview with his 28-year-old son about possible sex crime charges involving a child, said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, whose agency is investigating. The three wounded deputies remained in the hospital.

Carraway was one of four Florence city officers shot trying to rescue the other officers, investigators said. One remains in the hospital.

It took up to 30 minutes for an armored vehicle to rescue the wounded as Hopkins kept firing, authorities said.

Hopkins was charged with murder and attempted murder and his son Seth Hopkins was charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor at almost the same time Friday.

Seth Hopkins was in the home when his father fired at the officers, but Lott said only Frederick Hopkins is charged so far in the shooting.

Carraway could have retired after reaching 30 years of service. But he loved what he did and where he was, Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler said.

“This was his life. And this was what he wanted to do. Serving Florence was his passion,” Heidler said.

(Copyright ©2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)