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United States

Four US police officers shot in ambush attacks during manhunt for alleged domestic abuser

Police say suspect Christian Thomas McCall also fired on, and hit, a police helicopter. He was also shot, but taken in alive

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 January, 2018, 12:17am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 January, 2018, 12:55am

Four South Carolina police officers were shot early Tuesday morning after a routine call about a domestic incident resulted in police being ambushed during an area-wide manhunt.

It began shortly after 10pm Monday, after deputies responded to reports of a man, identified as 47-year-old Christian Thomas McCall, assaulting a woman at a home outside York, South Carolina, about 35 miles southwest of Charlotte, police said.

That incident spiralled into a manhunt and then a bloody shoot-out that saw the officers - and a police helicopter - hit, York County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Trent Faris said at a news conference.

“I’m just trying to gather my thoughts,” Faris said. “There’s a lot of officers that are concerned about our deputies … The main concern is for our guys who are in the hospital right now. We could really use your prayers.”

By the time officers arrived at the home, the male suspect had already fled on foot, Faris said. A K-9 unit was dispatched to search for him.

Around 1:07am Tuesday, in an area near the home, the suspect opened fire and struck an officer from the K-9 unit, Faris said. That officer was rushed in a deputy’s vehicle to Piedmont Medical Center in nearby Rock Hill, South Carolina, Faris said.

Multiple agencies then began “actively looking for the suspect” and issued emergency alerts to area residents, Faris said.

Two hours later, around 3:30am, the suspect opened fire again and struck three more officers, the sheriff’s spokesman said.

He also fired on and hit a helicopter from the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), an official said.

The SLED helicopter was carrying two pilots. They were not injured, but the helicopter’s rear stabiliser was hit, a spokesman said.

In the ensuing shoot-out, McCall was himself non-fatally shot and subsequently arrested, police allege.

McCall’s father-in-law told WSOC9 that McCall had been beating his wife, and said he was shocked, as violence was “uncharacteristic” of him.

In all, three York County sheriff’s deputies and one York police officer were shot, authorities said.

Two of the injured deputies were flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte by helicopter, and a third officer was transported to the same hospital by ground, Faris said.

Authorities did not release the names of the injured police officer and sheriff’s deputies, nor their injuries or conditions.

Thom Berry, a State Law Enforcement Division spokesman, said he has an arrest from Florence County in 1994, but as of Tuesday he had no other information on his criminal history.

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.”

York Police Dept tweeted “Please pray for the York PD Officer and York County Sheriff’s Deputies who were shot early this morning.”