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New details emerge as officials speak on Officer Barr’s death investigation

Officer Drew Barr was killed in the line of duty Sunday, April 24, 2022 in Cayce.
Officer Drew Barr was killed in the line of duty Sunday, April 24, 2022 in Cayce.(Cayce Police Department)
Published: Apr. 24, 2022 at 5:48 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2022 at 8:56 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -

New details are emerging in the death of Officer Drew Barr. Barr was killed Sunday, April, 24, 2022 while responding to a domestic disturbance call in Cayce. Investigators said Austin Henderson shot at the officers from inside the home. After a seven hour negotiation with police, Henderson died of a self inflicted gunshot wound.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Honoring Officer Barr

TUESDAY APRIL 26, 2022

Officials provided new details about Sunday’s shooting during a Tuesday press conference.

Cayce Police Chief Chris Cowan said Henderson moved upstairs from an elevated position with a rifle when officers arrived at the home.

Cowan shared that Henderson’s wife called 9-1-1 from her Apple Watch after she and her three-year-old were moved into a closet.

He said the family of Barr’s wishes are to keep donations to this go fund me.

WIS obtained the police incident report from Cayce. It says police first encountered a man inside a vehicle at Rossmore Drive when they arrived. He was placed into investigative detention. Cowan said the man was a family friend who left a party inside the house after the disturbance started.

As that man was being detained, the report says Henderson fired with a rifle at Cayce PD and hit Barr. While Barr was being loaded into a vehicle, the report says Henderson fired again on law enforcement.

Barr was evacuated from the yard and transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The report says Henderson barricaded himself inside the home with his wife and child. Negotiators from the Columbia Police Department made contact with him and managed to secure the release of both the woman and child.

Tactical teams from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department and the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) secured a perimeter. They continued to negotiate with the man until a single gunshot was heard from inside the home.

Investigators entered the home and found Henderson dead. The report said he was alone in the home when the shot was fired.

WIS News 10 has obtained a photo of Austin Henderson from a 2012 booking at the Lexington County Detention Center. At the time he was arrested on Domestic Violence charges.

Austin Henderson, the man SLED investigators say shot Officer Barr in Cayce Sunday.
Austin Henderson, the man SLED investigators say shot Officer Barr in Cayce Sunday.(Lexington County Detention Center)

MONDAY APRIL 25, 2022

On Monday, Barr’s body was escorted by fellow officers from the Lexington County Coroner’s Office. South Carolina’s Governor Henry McMaster released a statement about Barr on Monday.

Courtesy: Lexington County Sheriff's Department

Police Chief Chris Cowan said a seven-hour negotiation with the suspect ended when the man took his life.

The coroner’s office said a man named Austin Henderson, 36, killed himself in relation to the incident.

Mayor Elise Partin said, “Officer Drew Barr has been an important part of the Cayce family since 2016. All of our Cayce officers, our Cayce team and our Cayce citizens mourn with Officer Barr’s family.”

Cowan held a briefing at 11:30 a.m.

Barr was 27 years old. He would’ve turned 28 in June this year. Cowan explained Barr’s career of service impacted the community saying, “He was a firefighter, he was an EMT, and he was a cop.”

Barr was a 2017 graduate of the Criminal Justice Academy. He’d been promoted to the K-9 unit in 2020. His dog’s name was Molly.

Cowan said, “He cared about nothing else but serving his community.”

“Officer Barr gave the ultimate sacrifice for us,” shared Cowan.

SLED announced Sunday evening they’d been asked to help investigate the shooting.

WIS News 10 will have more updates as we learn more.

COMMUNITY REACTIONS

Reactions from across the Midlands and beyond started to come Sunday. Multiple law enforcement agencies expressed solidarity with the Cayce community.

Officer Barr had been recognized by the department in 2017 after being shot. He was awarded the Medal of Valor and the Purple Heart.

Barr served in the Lexington County EMS full time as an EMT from 2013-2016.

The Columbia Police Department posted Sunday morning sharing grief with the community.

The Monetta Volunteer Fire Department posted, “It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to one of our own. Drew Barr was a Captain with our department. Drew was shot and killed in the line of duty with Cayce Public Safety. Please pray for his family.”

The city issued an initial statement on his death saying, “At this time, our City, our Cayce Police Department, our officers and our community mourn the loss of Cayce PSO Roy Andrew “Drew” Barr.”

WIS News 10's Jamal Goss captured this moment as members of the Cayce Police Department were...
WIS News 10's Jamal Goss captured this moment as members of the Cayce Police Department were seen hugging and mourning the loss of one of their own Sunday morning.
Officials said Officer Drew Barr was shot and killed Sunday, April 24, 2022 in Cayce.
Officials said Officer Drew Barr was shot and killed Sunday, April 24, 2022 in Cayce.(Cayce Police Department)

INITIAL COVERAGE

Officials are reporting an officer from the Cayce Police Department was shot Sunday morning.

At around 2:48 a.m. three officers from the department were called to a scene on reports of a domestic disturbance.

Officials said the suspect opened fire on law enforcement and one was hit.

This is a developing story and we will update it as we learn more.

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