FLORENCE, S.C. – One South Carolina police officer was killed and six other law enforcement officers were wounded on Wednesday after officials reported an “active shooter” situation in Florence.

The gunman had been holding an unknown number of children hostage, but all were released safely as the suspect was apprehended, Florence County Sheriff’s Maj. Mike Nunn told the Associated Press.

The situation was considered so dangerous that police used an armored vehicle to rescue the injured officers, the AP reported.

Three Florence County sheriff’s deputies and three other Florence police officers who were shot were all receiving medical attention, Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler confirmed at a news conference on Wednesday night, reported Fox News.

The chief said all of the injured officers were the result of gunfire. He said the department was assisting the sheriff’s office in responding.

Officials initially tweeted about the situation around 5 p.m. ET, and warned people to “stay away from the area.” The situation began around 4 p.m. when officers approached the home to serve a warrant for an unknown offense.

The officer who died was identified by The Associated Press as Officer Terrence Carraway. He was reportedly a 30-year veteran of the Florence Police Department.

South Carolina police officer

Fallen Officer Terrence Carraway. (Facebook/ODMP)

President Trump tweeted that his “thoughts and prayers are with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office and the Florence Police Department tonight.” He added: “We are forever grateful for what our Law Enforcement Officers do 24/7/365.”

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster called the shootings “simply devastating news,” and asked for prayers for the officers, their families and “all of Florence.”

“The selfless acts of bravery from the men and women in law enforcement is real,” the governor said, “just like the power of prayer is real.”

“Heartbroken over the shooting involving the Florence area police officers,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tweeted. “God bless those who choose to protect us and their families.”

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., tweeted that his “prayers” were with the officers and their families.

“This is absolutely devastating,” Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., tweeted. “We are staying updated and sending our prayers to the police officers and their families.”

Authorities said the shooting in Florence, roughly 80 miles east of Columbia, occurred in Vintage Place, an upscale neighborhood in the western part of the city.

The area had already been reeling from the effects of Hurricane Florence, which caused extensive flooding in the state.

UPDATE:

Police investigating the fatal shooting have identified the suspected gunman as 74-year-old Frederick Hopkins – and say they were initially drawn to the home in Florence to serve a warrant for a 27-year-old accused of sexually assaulting a minor, reported Fox News.

Hopkins, meanwhile, is currently hospitalized with a head injury and police have not yet been able to speak to him, according to WIS News 10.

The Associated Press reported that Hopkins is a disbarred lawyer who has been charged several times in recent years, starting with a 2014 count of disorderly conduct.

Public court records viewed by the news agency say Hopkins’ charges include two in 2015 and 2017 for “running at large,” an offense related to not restraining one’s animals.

Public records show he’s the husband of Florence divorce attorney Cheryl Turner-Hopkins, while South Carolina Bar records show Frederick Hopkins used to be a lawyer but has since been disbarred. Hopkins also is a military veteran who had been receiving payments after being wounded in the Vietnam War, the Associated Press reported, citing court records in a divorce case involving him and his former wife.