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Fallen Charlotte-area police officers remembered in D.C.

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 10:18 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The nation pays tribute to two officers who lost their lives protecting their North Carolina communities.

With flickering flames and stone engravings, National Police Week honors nearly 400 officers who lost their lives last year.

Concord Police Department’s Offc.Jason Shuping died in a gun fight, after responding to a report of a car crash and stolen vehicle December 16th. “He was tragically taken from us way too soon,” said Chief Gary Gacek.

We spoke with Gacek just before he gave Shuping’s widow the medal of valor and a purple heart. Each time they remember the man they lost brings smiles and tears.

“There’s a lot of emotion, and right now, it’s a difficult time for the Concord Police Department,” said Gacek, “as I’m sure it is for many departments across the country.”

One need only cross Mecklenburg County to find another community in grief.

Mt. Holly Police Offc. Tyler Herndon responded to an early morning burglary call on Dec. 11th, and died when the suspect allegedly opened fire. ”He was everybody’s little brother,” said Chief Don Roper, “we lost a valuable resource and just a fine young man.”

The chiefs said their officers earned a permanent place in the nation’s history. But more important than names etched in stone, are the memories and legacies neither they, nor the community, will ever allow to fade.

“Folks will always talk about Tyler Herndon, what he meant to the City of Mt. Holly, what he meant to the Mt. Holly Police Dept,” Roper said.

“We mean it when we say we’ll never forget,” Gacek echoed.

For the second straight year, the coronavirus pandemic forced organizers to hold this week’s events online. But a few of the annual ceremonies are delayed, in hopes of holding them in-person this October.

Delegations from Concord and Mt. Holly both plan on attending.

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