John Aycoth, 47, Was the Suspect in the Shooting That Killed a South Carolina Police Officer
John Aycoth was the suspected gunman in a shooting that claimed the life of a South Carolina police officer. Authorities determined he suffered from a mental health condition which caused him to wish to harm himself and those around him.
He shot and killed Myrtle Beach police officer Jacob Hancher, as well as injuring another officer, Andrew Wangstad.
Early Life and Education
Aycoth was raised in Indian Trail, North Carolina. He and his friends enjoyed spending time outdoors playing bikes, hunting for crawfish, and shooting BB guns.
His sister said Aycoth had a fascination with guns, often posing for photos holding an AK-47.
Investigators discovered Aycoth’s support of law enforcement officers despite his gun passion. In fact, his cousin reported that Aycoth even attempted to join the Myrtle Beach police department as a part-time employee.
He lived in Myrtle Beach for a few years, but his parents divorced when he was young. Ultimately, his mother moved out of state. But Aycoth and his sister remained close. They kept in touch through email and Facebook, Zachary said; they also played video games together online.
John Derek Aycoth’s professional career encompassed lobbying, public relations and business development. In 1993 he founded Edward Aycoth & Co Inc, a firm that focused on government affairs, public relations and economic development programs for developing countries.
He served as a consultant to the Gambia, helping it develop trade and business opportunities. Furthermore, he organized meetings between Gambian officials and representatives of American corporations interested in investing in the country.
He also helped promote tourism to The Gambia, organizing trips for reporters from major American news outlets and encouraging government officials to appear on National Geographic Channel. Furthermore, he used the internet to collect data about the country which he then faxed it directly to their embassy in Washington DC.
Achievements and Honors
Aycoth has had an impressive career that spanned four decades. He served in the US Navy and held several high-profile assignments such as FOSIF (Flotilla Oceanographic Surveillance Intelligence Facility) in Rota, Spain. Additionally, he enjoyed success as a public relations and advertising executive and earned numerous awards, honors, and accolades throughout his life.
Aycoth is best known for his work as a public relations executive in Washington DC. His company, EAW, specializes in media and entertainment, government relations, trade & economic development and financial PR. This lucrative industry boasts clients at all levels of government from the White House to the United Nations; Aycoth also represents numerous international corporations and governments across various sectors from energy to technology.
As a child, John Derek Aycoth had an affinity for guns but also showed support for police officers. He would often chant the phrase, “Back the blue,” which stands as an expression in support of law enforcement officers.
As part of their investigation into Saturday’s shooting, investigators spoke with neighbors and friends of Aycoth. They described him as an irate young man who suffered from mental health issues.
Aycoth’s girlfriend, who recently ended their relationship, reported to police that he was possessive and “hot-headed,” often making comments about not going to jail or shooting “cops” if they came to their house.
Aycoth was well known for his affinity for guns and had a long history of violence. He had a felony record and was serving time in prison when he killed Hancher. Furthermore, police said Aycoth had previously struggled with anger issues as well as mental health problems. His family had reached out to investigators and informed them he was a problem child diagnosed with ADHD. At 18 years old, he purchased his first gun – an AK-47; shortly thereafter an AR-15; in addition, he also owned a Mosin Nagant automatic rifle. He had a social media presence that showed him brandishing his weapon. Aycoth’s girlfriend April Upton had difficulty dealing with Aycoth’s behavior and decided to end their relationship, according to police. She and another friend drove to his apartment and waited there until he was arrested, according to Myrtle Beach Police Chief Kyle Clark.