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Slain officer was wounded for more than an hour before help

Slain officer was wounded for more than an hour before
help 1

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) – A South Carolina police officer killed in an ambush by a man during a domestic violence call lay wounded outside a home for more than an hour before he got help, authorities said.

Myrtle Beach police said Officer Jacob Hancher fell between two parked cars and the gunman kept firing at officers, creating more confusion.

Even after the shooting stopped, police decided it was too dangerous and other people might be threatened, choosing to wait more than 50 minutes for a SWAT team and an armored vehicle to check the scene thoroughly, according to a State Law Enforcement Division report on the Oct. 3 shooting.

The gunman, John Aycoth, also was killed in the shooting. Prosecutors cleared the other five officers who fired that night of any criminal charges. One other officer was struck by bullet fragments in the knee, recovered and is back at work, authorities said.

Hancher was the first officer to respond to a 911 call that said Aycoth threatened to kill his girlfriend. The girlfriend’s 12-year-old child later told investigators that Aycoth told them both “call the police, and I’ll start firing,” according to the state report.

As Hancher walked by a window of Aycoth’s home heading toward the front door, he shot several times, according to Hancher‘s body camera.

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Hancher fell between two parked cars, his body camera pointed at the sky. He managed to fire eight shots toward the window, but just over a minute later, Aycoth shows up in the body camera footage pointing a rifle at Hancher and firing one shot, the report said.

Hancher was shot four times in the head, body and leg, according to his autopsy report. More than one of the wounds would have been fatal, and it couldn’t be determined what happened with Aycoth’s final close range shot at the officer, authorities said.

As more officers arrived, Aycoth fired more bullets and was eventually shot in the head about 10 minutes after the initial ambush, the state report said.

Officers realized there were two people not moving but did not realize Hancher had not checked in or been missed since calling dispatch when he arrived the the home, authorities said.

They still hadn’t found Aycoth’s girlfriend and child and decided it was safest to wait for the SWAT team and an armored bulletproof vehicle. That team found Hancher, who was pronounced dead at a hospital.

“After a round of shots fired, the team started asking if everyone was OK, but then another round of shots were fired,” Myrtle Beach Police Cpl. Tom Vest told WPDE-TV.

Vest said Myrtle Beach police are reviewing protocols to see what they can learn and change from the shooting.

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