KING, N.C. (WGHP) — King residents gathered together on Friday for a happy homecoming.
A motorcade escorted a King officer who was shot in the head last month back home.
From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., people lined the streets in King along Main Street as the motorcade made its way to the King Fire Department.
The officer waved at supporters, family and friends. Police are not releasing his name, for security reasons.
State troopers and law enforcement agencies from Kernersville, Winston-Salem, Stokes County and Forsyth County all showed their support. Patrol cars could be seen as far as a mile away.
“It’s important to show support for the friends and family. I’ve known this officer since he was a little boy, ” said Sonya Cox, who attended the parade. “He worked with my son at WSPD. We wanted to show how important it is to support law enforcement.”
Donna Warfield arrived an hour before the parade started. She says she’s known the officer since he was a child. When she heard the news, all she could do was pray that God will bring him home.
The officer’s family gathered along with law enforcement at the King Fire Station on West King Street.
King Police Chief J.J. Boyette told FOX8 a 19-year-old shot the officer seconds after a traffic stop on May 29.
“I almost fell over because I heard there had been an officer down,” said Gary Hauser, a cousin of the injured officer. “I just want him to continue getting better.”
At first, Hauser didn’t realize at the time that the officer was his cousin. He stopped by the police station on May 30 to get an update on his cousin. Hauser told FOX8 he did not want to reach out to his immediate family to give them some space.
“He’s a very friendly guy, very pleasant guy to be around,” he said. “He’s a good officer.”
Hauser told FOX8 his cousin cares about the people he served in the King community for nearly four years.
“He comes through the Circle K quite often, checks on them because they have some people in there late at night,” Hauser said.
Boyette said the officer was on his route when he stopped a car on Newsome Road around 12:40 a.m. on May 29. Four people between the ages of 18 and 20 were in the vehicle.
“This whole incident occurred because one individual chose to not do the right thing,” Boyette said. “One of their brothers in blue got shot over a traffic stop.”
According to Boyette, the driver stopped in the back parking lot of the Dogwood Events Center when a passenger got out and started running. That’s when two officers started a foot chase. He said as one officer passed the car, a passenger in the backseat got out and started shooting at the officer and both officers returned fire.
Boyette told FOX8 the teenager from Winston-Salem died after the shootout.
“If you draw a weapon and shoot at an officer, you’re going to expect us to return fire and end that situation,” Boyette said. “Our officers did the right thing. They did what they were supposed to do.”
Boyette told FOX8 a bullet the 19-year-old fired hit one officer in the head. It’s something the chief said hasn’t happened since he started working at the department 18 years ago.