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'Crazy:' Neighbors describe the shooting that took the life of a Myrtle Beach officer

Myrtle Beach police officer Jacob Hancher was 23 when he passed.

Derek Scott, Porsha Ivey and their two children hit the floor as bullets started slamming into buildings near their Yaupon Drive area apartment Saturday night.

Two doors down from their home, the Myrtle Beach couple waited out the horror next door as the shooting unfolded that claimed the life of city police officer Jacob Hancher and injured another officer. The gunman also died, though authorities have not said if police shot him.

“It’s like he went and reloaded, and come back and hit it again,” Ivey said of the suspect, whom the Horry County Coroner’s Office later identified as 20-year-old John Aycoth of Myrtle Beach. 

Police have released few details about the case, but they confirmed that the shooting happened around 10 p.m. when officers responded to a domestic dispute at an apartment on the northwest corner of Yaupon Drive and 14th Avenue South.

Witnesses said the incident started as an argument between the suspect and his girlfriend. They said the suspect, Aycoth, grabbed the woman’s arm and she snatched it back, telling him she would call the police.  

“Him and his girlfriend got into a relationship argument or breakup, and I guess he didn’t want to breakup and he started shooting,” said Michelle Price, who lives across the street in a complex formerly called Casa del Oro and who provided shelter for the suspect's girlfriend and her child who were living at the apartment where the shooting happened.

“That’s the first time I seen her, but she was with a friend of mine and he was trying to get her and her daughter to safety, and he knew I lived here," Price said. "So this was the first place he came in."

Ivey said Aycoth took his dog, King, on a walk, and the woman told the suspect that officers were coming as he returned, at which point he grabbed a gun and threatened to kill himself.

As soon as an officer arrived on a golf cart, Scott said Aycoth opened fire. 

“That’s when the guy started shooting,” Scott said. “He had to have a big clip on that gun. It was multiple times.”

Two neighbors across the street, Edward Williams and Ricky Truitt, said at one point they saw an officer armed with a shotgun on the front porch of the residence where the shooting happened. 

“I seen an officer come out of there with a shotgun in his hand and I started ducking,” Truitt said. “I heard a woman scream before I seen the officer over there. The door was opened over there. The officer came out, and then all hell broke loose. I took my happy ass back in the house. When I seen him come out with the shotgun, I went in.”

Upstairs, Williams came out of his apartment upon hearing the first barrage of shots.

“I came out and looked, I seen officers in the house pursuing somebody,” he said. “The guy was standing right in the doorway — the cop — and shot a 12-gauge. Somehow, the suspect got back in the house and they were all outside the house.” 

Witnesses described hearing dozens of shots during the incident.

King, Aycoth's dog, ran over to Scott and Ivey’s apartment, and waited out the shooting there. 

“If he’d have turned and shot through these walls, he would have hit us,” Ivey said. “Once they went in there and started shooting, we went in and got down on the ground.” 

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“His dog, the guy that lives there, came running to me when the shooting started. Yeah. We were outside here. We seen it when the big guy, the one that got killed,” Derek Scott said at the scene of a Myrtle Beach police officer fatality off 14th Avenue South and Yaupon Drive. Myrtle Beach police officer Jacob Hancher was killed in the shooting and the alleged gunman also died in the incident. Scott lives in the apartment behind where the alleged gunman lived. He said he is keeping the dog, King, until a member of the man’s family decides what to do with him. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

Across the street, Price took cover on the hallway floor of her upstairs apartment. 

“All I know is we were sitting here and all of a sudden we heard a bunch of gunfire and got down on the floor in the hallway,” Price said. “It quit for a minute, and the next thing you know, there was another round. We seen one police officer helping the one that got shot in the leg. I ain’t never been in nothing like this in my life.” 

Authorities confirmed a second officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries and is expected to recover. 

At one point, Price said she opened her door to smoke and saw two SWAT officers on her porch and a sniper on the roof of the building next door. 

“I saw it from up here. They had snipers and stuff,” said Jerry Bradbury, a former U.S. Army Ranger who moved to the area from California less than two months ago.

“The house was surrounded; there were three cops there with a cop car parked sideways,” Bradbury said. “They were standing there with their guns pointed at the house, and they were just shooting off at each other.” 

Bradbury said that about 15 to 20 minutes later, an officer told him he had to go inside. 

“I would say at least 40 to 60 bullets went off,” Bradbury said. “There was a time when I was like, “Wow, are they getting more ammunition? Did they run out?’ And then it just got really, really quiet so I didn’t know what was going on. It would stop for a while then it would start up again. It was crazy. War is one thing; a neighborhood’s a whole different ballgame.”

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A car’s window is riddled with bullet holes off 14th Avenue South and Yaupon Drive. Myrtle Beach Police officer Jacob Hancher was killed in the shooting and the alleged gunman also died in the incident. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

The exact timeline of events is unclear. 

Myrtle Beach police referred questions about shooting to the State Law Enforcement Division, which investigates officer-involved shootings. SLED declined to comment. 

Police had taped off the scene of the shooting well into Sunday afternoon. 

Hancher, the officer who was killed, had been on patrol for less than a year.

He was 23 years old. 

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(1) comment

LastEagleScout

Summary, a police officer, responding to a call for help, died at the hands of a complete loser.

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