FLORENCE, S.C. – Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone remembered investigator Farrah “Maxine” Turner as a hero.
Turner died last week after being injured on Oct. 3 in a mass shooting in Florence. A funeral was held Sunday for Turner at the Florence Center.
Boone said Turner was not a hero because of her death but because of what she did in her daily life.
“Farrah was loyal, strong, courageous and served our community in the very dark part of this world where children were physically and mentally abused by pedophiles who prey on our innocent children,” Boone said. “Yet in the darkness, she brought light, and her light was a source of hope and encouragement to so many.”
Frederick Hopkins, 74, is accused of shooting seven law enforcement officers, including Turner, in an ambush of investigations coming to question his adult son about a child sexual assault. Florence police Sgt. Terrence Carraway also died as a result of the shooting. Hopkins is charged with the murder of Turner and Carraway and with the attempted murder of the other officers.
At Sunday’s funeral attended by thousands of people, Boone thanked Turner’s mother, Katie Godwin, for raising her daughter right.
“Farrah is a strong, courageous woman who set the example for others to follow through her selfless service to her family, her law enforcement community, her friends and the children as well, in this county,” Boone said.
Turner’s law enforcement career led her to work in family court with Judge Jerry D. Vinson Jr. Vinson said he first met Turner when she became his courtroom deputy, and he was immediately struck by her beautiful, big, joyful smile. In his 14 years on the bench, he said he never met someone who smiled so much in a courtroom.
Vinson said he was worried the small, smiling deputy might be a bit tender.
“Boy, was I wrong. Farrah was as tough as any deputy I’ve ever worked with, and she could hold her own in any situation,” Vinson said. “On more than one occasion, when a litigant became disruptive, Farrah handled the situation quickly and effectively. Her calm and firm demeanor, accompanied by one hand on her handcuffs, took care of things.”
Vinson said he always thought of Turner as a peace officer. That term is not used very often anymore for law enforcement officers, he said.
“I think we should. It seems so appropriate for Farrah,” Vinson said. “She kept the peace by resourceful and respectful enforcement of the law.”
Deacon Mike Davis of Word of God Outreach Ministry attended church with Turner in Scranton. His daughter, Florence County deputy Arie Davis, was wounded in the shooting on Oct. 3 but is continuing to recover.
Davis said when his daughter wanted to get into law enforcement, he talked to Turner about it and expressed his concerns about her small size. But Turner told him not to worry about Arie Davis. Turner said she had his daughter.
“Maxine took her and helped trained her,” Davis said. “And up to that very day, they were together. They were together.”
Davis said Turner served at Word of God Outreach Ministry, but sometimes, ministry is not always done inside the four walls of the church.
“She took on another ministry as well, serving and protecting others on Sunday as they served,” Davis said. “And you know, God watches over those that are watching over others.”
Turner also served on Sunday mornings with her second church family at First Presbyterian Church. She provided security at the church in Florence. Additionally, Turner worked as a school resource officer in Florence County School District Four and even served at the flea market.
A number of Turner’s colleagues spoke at Sunday’s funeral. Most of them talked about her affectious smile. Turner’s uncle, the Rev. Herbert F. Godwin, gave words of comfort at the funeral. He said God trusted Turner’s mother with her, but Turner was a gift.
“Now, I need you to help me understand this. If someone loans you something, you cannot determine when they’ll decide to come back and get what you’ve been loaned,” Herbert F. Godwin said. “God simply loaned her to us. So then in his own time, God has now decided that he now wants back what has loaned to us. Yes, our earthly body dies, however, our heavenly body endures for all eternity.”
Herbert F. Godwin said the past few weeks have been hard for his family, but he understands God always knows best.
“And because Christ conquered death, there should be no fear for the Christians, because through Christ we also will conquer death,” Herbert F. Godwin said.