Coroner and Significant Police Presence Reported in Florence

Coroner and Significant Police Presence Reported in Florence

A significant police presence was reported in Florence County, S.C., over the weekend following a tragic incident that resulted in the death of a 19-year-old. The Florence County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the shooting occurred on Wrenfield Road in the Florence area on Saturday night. Two individuals were transported to the hospital; one succumbed to their injuries while the other was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken identified the deceased as Billy James Matthews III, a resident of Florence. An autopsy is scheduled to take place later this week at the Medical University of South Carolina. Authorities have yet to disclose the circumstances leading up to the shooting or why it is being considered accidental.

In another incident, the Hamilton County Coroner identified a man who was fatally shot in Norwood, Cincinnati, early Monday morning. Douglas Lee Palmer Jr., 26, died at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center from a gunshot wound to the chest. Norwood police responded to a shooting report on Hunter Avenue around 1 a.m. and found Palmer lying on the floor of a house. He was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Palmer was reportedly homeless, and no suspect information has been released as the investigation continues.

Meanwhile, Florence, S.C., witnessed another tragic event on Saturday night. Police are investigating a shooting that resulted in the death of 19-year-old Christopher Gibson. Neighbors reported hearing gunshots, initially mistaking them for fireworks. One resident expressed concern for her family’s safety, stating it was difficult to sleep due to worries about potential further violence. Gibson’s body will be sent to the Medical University of Charleston for an autopsy. The Florence Police Department responded to the scene on Ervin Court around 7:46 p.m. and found the victim with injuries. No arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing.

In Florence, Kentucky, a neighborhood was left in shock after a mass shooting early Saturday morning. Four people were killed, and three others were injured. The shooter, identified as 21-year-old Chase Garvey, also died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after leading police on a chase. Residents on Ridgecrest Drive were awakened by the sound of gunshots, initially mistaking them for fireworks. Garvey opened fire at a party, killing 44-year-old Melissa Parrett, 19-year-old Delaney Eary, 20-year-old Hayden Rybicki, and 20-year-old Shane Miller. Parrett was hosting the party for her son’s 21st birthday.

Florence Police Chief Jeff Mallery held a press conference, expressing condolences to the victims’ families. Officers responded to the active shooter situation around 2:50 a.m. and found seven people with gunshot wounds. Four victims were pronounced dead at the scene, while three others were transported to UC Medical Center and are now in stable condition. The suspect fled the scene in a vehicle, leading police on a pursuit that ended when he drove into a ditch. Garvey, a convicted felon from a previous sex offense, was known to some partygoers but was not invited to the party. His motive remains under investigation.

These incidents have left the Florence communities in South Carolina and Kentucky reeling, highlighting the devastating impact of gun violence. Authorities continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding these tragic events, urging anyone with information to come forward.

Source: WMBF, WXIX, WKRC, Scripps Media, Inc.

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