Seven law enforcement officers were shot, with one killed, when a suspect opened fire on deputies attempting to serve a search warrant at a house in South Carolina.

The incident happened about 4pm on Wednesday, US east coast time.

From inside the home, the man fired on the deputies, striking three of them, officials said. He continued to fire as officers from other departments arrived to assist.

The wounded were evacuated after police drove in with a bullet-resistant vehicle, while the suspect barricaded himself inside, along with a number of children.

After a stand-off of about two hours, the man, who was not identified by officials, was arrested.

The officer who was shot dead was from the Florence Police Department. He was not immediately identified.

Chief Allen Heidler told reporters that he had known the officer for 30 years, calling him the “bravest police officer that I have ever known”.

Officials expressed shock and anger that violence had broken out while deputies were serving what they called a “random search warrant”, a relatively routine investigative procedure.

The suspect had an advantageous vantage point of several hundred metres, officials said.

“These officers went there unknowing the firepower this suspect had,” Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone told reporters. “He had an advantage. The officers couldn’t get to the ones that were down.”

The six officers are receiving treatment at a local hospital.

The state’s elected officials were joined by US President Donald Trump in expressing shock at the violence.

“This is simply devastating news from Florence,” Governor Henry McMaster tweeted. “The selfless acts of bravery from the men and women in law enforcement is real.”

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