Florence airport officer killed in shooting; suspect in custody

Florence airport officer killed in shooting; suspect in custody
The Florence County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed an officer involved shooting in Florence near the airport. (Source: WMBF News)

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Authorities are investigating after a Florence Regional Airport officer was killed in a shooting early Sunday morning.

According to the Florence County Coroner’s Office, 26-year-old Jackson Ryan Winkeler, of Dillon, has been identified as the victim of the shooting, which happened shortly before 6:00 a.m. near the airport at 2100 Terminal Drive.

Sources tell WMBF News Winkeler was also a firefighter with the Latta Fire Department.

In a news release, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said James Edward Bell, 37, was arrested in connection to the shooting.

Shortly after 10:40 a.m. Monday, Bell was booked in the Florence County Detention Center. He faces charges of murder, armed robbery, discharging a firearm into a vehicle while occupied and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. Bell is due in court for a bond hearing Tuesday morning.

James Edward Bell
James Edward Bell (Source: Florence County Detention Center)

“Agents of the S.C. Law Enforcement Division continue their investigation of an incident Sunday morning in which a man shot and killed an Airport Public Safety Officer during a traffic stop at Florence Regional Airport,” the release began. “The suspect initially fled the scene but was later apprehended by Florence County Deputies.”

SLED is investigating the shooting. According to SLED, Sunday’s incident in Florence County is the first officer-involved shooting in South Carolina in 2020.

In 2019, there were 45 officer-involved shootings in South Carolina.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday at MUSC in Charleston.

Stay with WMBF News as we continue to gather more information.

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