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Florence officer cleared in fatal July Hospitality Boulevard shooting

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An officer involved in a fatal shooting back in July on Hospitality Blvd. has been cleared, according to the Florence Police Department.

FPD was informed by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) that the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Solicitor has finished reviewing the officer-involved shooting that happened on July 14, 2018 at 2671 Hospitality Boulevard and has cleared the officer involved.

Police say the shooting happened around 12:22 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn. Officers were called to the scene regarding someone with a gun. Officer Thomas Herman was the first officer on scene. While he was speaking with the complainant, Jethro Benjamin appeared on scene and presented a handgun. Herman ordered Benjamin to the ground, and he instead hid behind a vehicle.

Benjamin then fired at Herman and he returned fire as he moved to a position of cover. A brief volley of gunfire was exchanged, wounding Benjamin. Herman and two other officer secured the scene and positioned Benjamin on his side to help him breathe until an ambulance arrived.

Benjamin was taken to the hospital by EMS, but died shortly after.

No officers were injured in the incident, according to FPD.

FPD Chief Heidler requested that SLED investigate the incident. The department also conducted their on internal inquiry. As a result of both investigations, it has been determined that "Officer Thomas Herman acted in accordance with state law, as well as departmental policy."

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