Armed robbery suspect shot and killed by Florence officer

A police report sheds new light into an officer involved shooting that left one man dead Monday night in Florence.

A Florence city police officer shot and killed Patrick Small, 27, after police say Small pointed a gun at the officer following a robbery at Cruizer's convenience store on West Palmetto Street.

The police report says the officer was parked across the street and was doing surveillance of the business.

There have been reports of several robberies in the area.

The incident report says the officer identified himself as a police officer and ordered Small to stop when he left the convenience store, but he didn't.

WPDE NewsChannel 15 spoke with James Goodman who was working his shift at Cruizers Monday and witnessed the robbery.

"I was over here at the coolers, straightening up merchandise. Guy comes in the store with the hood on, goes behind the counter, put the gun on the other clerk and takes money," said Goodman.

Goodman said seconds later he and his coworker heard gunshots.

"We both ran outside. We had heard the shots. Well, the shot actually come through the wall in the building. It come through the wall outside into the women's room (bathroom) into the cooler," Goodman said.

He said they ran outside and saw Small lying on the ground.

Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler said earlier that Small pulled out a gun, and the officer fired his gun, hitting the suspect

Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken said Small was taken to the hospital and died shortly after the shooting around 10:05 p.m.

The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave, and the State Law Enforcement Division is investigating.

Goodman believes the officer's actions were justified and said he was glad the officer was nearby.

"The police were on their jobs last night. They were here. They were just, they were here and they helped us out a great deal," he said.

Goodman said he's been working at Cruizer's for eight years and has witnessed six robberies.

He said he's been shaken each time it has happened.

"I been doing this for a while. So, I mean we're always looking. But we're never ready for it."

The owner of Cruizers said he has 15 surveillance cameras in and around his business. He said the cameras are in place to protect his business and employees in the event of armed robberies and thefts.

We have requested a copy of the surveillance video, but have been told it can't be released because it's a part of an ongoing investigation.