FLORENCE —The second law enforcement officer killed during what authorities have described as an ambush-style mass shooting earlier this month was laid to rest here on Sunday.
Mourners, more than 1,000 strong, packed into the Florence Civic Center to pay their respects to Farrah Burdette Godwin Turner, 36, who loved ones remembered by her "brilliant and courageous" smile and fierce devotion to protecting and bettering the lives of those she served, particularly children. Turner joined the Florence County Sheriff's Office in 2006. She would go on to be named investigator of the year by the department in 2016.
Turner, a deputy with the Florence County Sheriff's Office, and Florence Police Sgt. Terrence Carraway were fatally shot Oct. 3 at a home in an upscale subdivision outside city limits.
During the deadly shootout, five other law enforcement officers were injured. Authorities say a man who lives at the home, 74-year-old Frederick Hopkins, opened fire on officers when they arrived to question his son about the alleged sexual assault of a minor. The standoff between officers and Hopkins, who is charged with two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder, spanned two hours.
Hundreds of law enforcement officials from across the Carolinas and beyond attended Turner's service. Outside the convention center, a Florence cruiser was on display, bearing photos and flowers and ribbons memorializing the fallen deputy. Before and after the formal services, attendees stood near the vehicle and took in the scene. Some snapped photos. Some cried. Others placed handwritten notes, cards and posters.
In the distance, an American flag waved from a firetruck ladder.
During the service, Turner's cousin, Britney R. Weaver, talked of growing up with Turner — who immediate family members called Maxine — and her fondness for Turner's candor. Turner, Weaver said, was never one to mince her words. You always knew where she stood in any given conversation because she would make it a point to let it be known.
Looking up from her prepared remarks, Weaver alluded to her nerves when she learned she would be speaking during the services. Then she remembered how she believes Turner would've cheered her on if she were still here. "Oh fo' sho', B, you got it, girl!" Weaver imagined Turner saying.
"While the entire world knows Maxine is a hero," Weaver said, "please understand Maxine has always been our hero."
Addressing those gathered, Florence Sheriff Kenny Boone recalled Turner's devotion to public service and her unwillingness to stand down in the presence of danger when it came to protecting others.
"Farrah is a hero," Boone said. "Not because of her death, but because of what she did in her daily life. ... Her light was a source of hope for so many."
The collection of notes and cards expressing thanks that were still on Turner's desk at the time of her death was evidence of the large number of people whose lives she made better, he said.
"Everyone who came into contact with Farrah left knowing she loved them. To us, she was more than an investigator," Boone said. "She was family."
As he neared the end of his remarks, he paused to collect himself as he choked back sobs.
"And to Farrah, rest easy, my sweet girl," he said. "We'll take it from here."