By Colleen Hammond and Kristen Johnson
Source The Charlotte Observer
Hundreds of people gathered Friday in Raleigh to honor the life of slain Wake County Sheriff’s Deputy Ned Byrd, who was fatally shot while on duty a week ago.
At least 1,000 people, many of them law enforcement officers, filled Providence Baptist Church on Glenwood Avenue, and in the hour before the service started, dozens of police motorcycles lined the streets nearby.
Mourners and officers in formal uniform solemnly wrapped around the church’s front doors and parking lot in formation to await the arrival of Byrd’s casket being carried in by the N.C. State Highway Patrol’s Caisson Unit.
Nearby, a small group of onlookers awaited the procession, huddled underneath an American flag on the corner of Glenwood Avenue and Pleasant Valley Road.
The bright red and white of the flag encasing Byrd’s casket peeked above the sea of dark blue and gray uniform as the procession circled the perimeter of the church before stopping at the entrance to bring Byrd into the church.
His K-9 partner, Sasha, led in front with another Wake County deputy.
The funeral came a day after an arrest was made in the shooting. Thursday, Arturo Marin-Sotelo was arrested and charged with Byrd’s murder. The Wake County Sheriff’s Office has said there could be more arrests.
On Thursday, Aug. 11, Byrd was shot and killed in a rural area on Battle Bridge Road near Auburn Knightdale Road after clearing the scene of a domestic incident. He was 48 years old.
Byrd, described as loyal by family and friends, was a 13-year veteran of the Wake County Sheriff’s Office. He was a New York native and started working for the Sheriff’s Office in 2009 as a detention officer transporting inmates. He became a deputy in 2018 and was working as a K9 officer when he was killed. Sasha was still in the SUV.
“(Byrd) was the true definition of what it meant to serve others. He was the first person to show up and help, even when he wasn’t asked,” Joel Schlieman, a longtime friend of Byrd’s, told The News & Observer last week. “He just did it because that’s the kind of guy he was. I think that’s what he was doing when he was working.”
Schlieman, an instructor at Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu of Cary, and others said Byrd was passionate about fitness and the outdoors. He was active in CrossFit and jiu jitsu, and had been training for 15 years at the Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy in Raleigh.
According to his obituary, Byrd was well-loved and “lived life to the fullest.”
Byrd is survived by his sister, her husband and numerous other relatives.
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