(Updated 3:10pm) The officer wounded in a shooting at Socastee High School last week got an emotional welcome back to work Tuesday. School Resource Officer Erik Karney was hit by shrapnel when a 14-year-old student shot at him last Tuesday.
Cheerleaders, a marching band, lots of signs and even a couple of surprise guests showed up to thank Officer Karney for a job well done.
The school put up balloons, handed out signs and made sure everyone was in the right place at the right time. When all the pieces were in place, students started streaming into The Commons from all directions. Cheerleaders began leading the crowd in special cheers they came up with, just for this occasion.
With dozens of posters and the school colors on display everywhere, it was like a homecoming celebration, with no football game attached. "It's a really great privilege to have him here, and this is just the least I can do to show my support," said junior William Knapp
Just when the cheering reached a fever pitch, the guest of honor arrived. Officer Erik Karney smiled, took it all in, got hugs from his wife and daughter who showed up by surprise.. and.. said nothing. But that was okay, for students like sophomore Erika Luke. "He doesn't really have to say anything to thank us back for it, because we're just thanking him for what he did."
What he did was restrain a student who police say shot at him and brought bombs to school in a backpack. The students think that was pretty courageous, some calling him the Hero of Socastee.
Somehow, it seems fitting that the Socastee team name is "The Braves."
After getting hit by shrapnel last week, Karney was treated for his injuries at a local hospital. He's been on medical leave until now.
The student is still in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia.
He will have another detention hearing next week.