Online reaction to 4 York County officers shot turns to talk of prayers, police, race

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Reactions to the shooting of four law enforcement officers just outside of York came swiftly, and they weren’t just local.

Four York County officers were shot after responding to a domestic violence call Monday night. A law enforcement helicopter also took fire from the suspect, who was injured in the incident. The injured officers are three York County Sheriff’s Office deputies and a York Police Department officer.

Local concern

The York County Sheriff’s Office posted a more-than-eight-minute live video Tuesday morning detailing what happened. Within four hours, the video had 37,000 views and 462 comments, many from York County residents. Some heard the incident unfold.

“Thank you to all law enforcement for all that you do,” wrote Bryan Lamparter. “We heard the helicopters and the second shootout from the safety of our warm home, and it was scary. These folks are brave, and we appreciate them very much. Praying for health and safety for all law enforcement officers and their families.”

The majority of posts offered prayers for the officers and families involved.

“Praying,” wrote Teri Andrews Carpenter. “I was in ICU when the first officer came in. Praying for all.”

Comments also came from other law enforcement agencies and supporters. People also went to Twitter to react. Early messages came in from Florida to California, to Hamburg, Germany.

User @Quato2 replied to the York Police Department’s tweet on the incident: “disrespect for law enforcement is out of control.”

Tanya Wright tweeted officers risk their lives to keep others safe and deserve better.

Several law enforcement groups asked for continued prayers for York County.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, based in Charlotte, N.C., posted before noon it would send rapid response team chaplains to Carolinas Medical Center where the officers and the suspect are receiving medical treatment.

Widespread reaction

News outlets nationwide and beyond reported the incident. Many shared comments of support for law enforcement. Some took the conversation into a larger discussion of race, immigration or gun control.

User @schuylerocks tweeted information about the incident to President Donald Trump, who in a prior tweet called for security “at our very dangerous southern border.”

Shaun King, whose Facebook page lists him as a journalist, activist and organizer with extensive writing on the Black Lives Matter movement, tweeted about the “horrible” situation, but also the fact a suspect is still alive.

“He’s white,” King wrote. “He would have to be white to be alive. Almost all police officers are shot by white men who survive.”

Within an hour the post, it had more than 730 shares.

Many posted that race played a role in how the incident unfolded or the narrative it would generate.

Locally, the issue of race had not been mentioned by law enforcement officials. That did not stop the online exchanges.

“He will not be labeled a thug, NOT,” wrote Letty Bell Hawthorne. “HE will be categorized as suffering mental illness.”

Many other commentators said the suspect was shot, even if he wasn’t killed.

“He was shot multiple times,” commented Ryan Uffelman. “You really think these cops were going out of their way to make sure he survived? That’s just ridiculous man.”

Some referenced past incidents of police interactions with minority and white suspects. Some commented race shouldn’t be at the forefront in this incident.

“Bringing it up during every incident that happens only teaches our children and our children’s children to hold on to racism,” commented Christina Griffin, listed as a McConnells resident. “No matter what we say or what we do, if we ourselves can’t let it go the(n) neither will anyone else.”

The group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America put out a statement, with its South Carolina chapter leader saying she was “heartbroken to wake up to the news of yet another shooting in South Carolina.”

Twitter user Shannon Watts saw the incident as further proof of the dangers of domestic violence. Specifically, she said, “convicted domestic abusers in South Carolina are not required to relinquish the firearms they already own.”

“Armed domestic abusers don’t just endanger women,” she tweeted, in a message retweeted 250 times, “they endanger police.”