A Lesson on Love: SC Community, Chaplains Unite to Honor Fallen Officer

By Todd Sumlin   •   October 5, 2018

Florence, South Carolina, was rocked by tragedy October 3 after seven law enforcement officials were shot—one of them killed. “This is a very heavy, disturbing and shocking time for a somewhat small community in South Carolina,” chaplain Jeff Naber said. Naber is a former police officer and manages the RRT's law enforcement ministry, which was put in place to be there for those who protect and serve while facing the grief, stress, anxiety and loss the job can bring.
The deadly shootout happened as deputies tried to carry out a search warrant at a home in the neighborhood of Vintage Place.
Sgt. Terrence Carraway, a 30-year veteran of the Florence Police Department, died from his injuries on the way to the hospital. “This is the most tragic event to occur in my 35 years at the Florence Police Department,” said Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler, who worked alongside Carraway his entire career and considered him a friend.
At the request of local authorities, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains started arriving in Florence the night of the shooting to assess how they could help. The city of Florence sits about 90 minutes from South Carolina's capital, Columbia.
Crisis-trained chaplains minstering in Florence have a law enforcement background, which helps them relate to the danger and tragedy that officers face on a daily basis.
A vigil honoring Sgt. Carraway was held at First Baptist Church in downtown Florence on October 4. “We as a city have spent the last 24 hours only half believing the stark reality of what has occurred," Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela said at a news conference.
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." —Psalm 34:18 (ESV)
Many came to pay tribute to Sgt. Carraway, laying flowers on a parked police cruiser next to First Baptist. Carraway was described as a "gentle giant" who cared for his community and had a heart for mentoring young people.
The RRT Mobile Ministry Center is set up near the church, and crisis-trained chaplains will continue to offer a ministry of presence in the area so the community knows individuals are there to listen and pray in this time of need.
Carraway was a member of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in nearby Darlington and sang in the choir—"or at least he tried to," Pastor Cecil Bromell chuckled, sharing memories at Thursday's vigil.

"He had a badge, yes. But he had another badge. It was a badge of love," Bromell continued. "I believe brother Carraway’s death, if it means anything to us, it should mean [for us] to wear that badge of love. Be that person who says, 'We've got enough hateful people in the world—they don’t need another.'"