COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The man who recently killed a police officer in South Carolina responding to a domestic violence call tracked the officer from upstairs in his home with a rifle before firing the fatal shot, authorities said Tuesday.
Then as other officers tried to drag Cayce officer Drew Barr to a patrol car early Sunday morning so he could get medical help, the man fired a second shot at them, Cayce Police Chief Chris Cowen said.
“He was calculated in what he did. He murdered our officer,” Cowen said.
The shooter, 36-year-old Austin Leigh Henderson, then put his wife and daughter into a closet and held them hostage and police at bay for about seven hours before killing himself with a gunshot to the head, authorities said.
Cayce officers were called to Henderson’s home around 2:45 a.m. Sunday after a woman sounding distressed called 911 on her Apple Watch and said she was being attacked by a man with a rifle, Cowen said,
The first officer on the scene handcuffed a man in the yard who had been partying with Henderson all day. Barr was the second officer at the scene and was shot shortly after arriving, the police chief said.
“The suspect moved upstairs to an elevated position with a rifle and tracked our officers as they pulled in,” Cowan said.
Henderson’s wife and daughter were not harmed, but Cowen said they were shook up and asked for prayers for them as well as Barr’s family and fellow officers.
Barr was a K-9 handler and started his career as a volunteer firefighter and EMT in Monetta.
The people in that tiny Aiken County town said “you can call 911, but don’t bother. I’m calling Drew. They loved him and they knew he was going to care for them because he was a servant,” Cowan said.
Barr survived a shooting in 2017 when he was just a trainee in Cayce, a suburb of about 14,000 people west of Columbia. The gunman in that case is serving a total of 30 years in state and federal sentences.
Cowan didn’t take questions from reporters Tuesday, so it isn’t known what led to the domestic violence attack or why Henderson might have fired on officers
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