APEX, N.C. — A state-wide manhunt continues for the person who killed a Wake County sheriff's deputy.
Someone shot deputy Mark Tucker, 49, Thursday afternoon. A 28-year veteran of law enforcement, Tucker was on duty at the time.
Tucker's body was found beside his unmarked patrol car in a field near Holly Springs Road and Winding Oak Way, just before 1:30 p.m. The deputy's gun was still in its holster.
The land where the car and body were discovered is the future site of the Southeast Wake YMCA, located across the street from Tucker's Oak Chase neighborhood.
Sheriff Donnie Harrison said his office is treating the death as a homicide. Harrison and other investigators at the scene Thursday were visibly shaken. But Harrison said they had a job to do. Investigators remain at the scene.
"He was one of us," Harrison said. "We're a big family, and it hurts."
Harrison speculated that Tucker may have been home for lunch, seen something suspicious in the field and gone to investigate. The sheriff said there have been reports of cars in that field before.
Harrison said an all-points bulletin has gone out statewide for a vehicle in connection with Tucker's death.
The vehicle is described as a white or light grey "boxy" car, perhaps a Mitsubishi, with a chrome grill and hood ornament. Harrison said he was not sure how many people are in the car, or whether it is a two-door or four-door model.
Anyone seeing a vehicle matching that description or any suspicious activity should contact the sheriff's office at
Local authorities are asked to stop any vehicle with that description.
A passerby saw Tucker's car, a silver unmarked sedan, in the field and alerted authorities around 1:26 p.m. Investigators arrived a minute and a half later.
Tucker is the fourth Wake County deputy to die on duty in 71 years.
In the past five months, two deputies were killed in car accidents:
in October and
Tucker had been with the Wake County Sheriff's Office since 1976, except for a short stint with the U.S. Marshals Service. He was appointed U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of North Carolina in September 1999.
Tucker returned to the sheriff's office when Harrison was elected, replacing longtime Sheriff John Baker. Tucker was president of the Fraternal Order of Police of Wake County.
News of his death had a major impact on Tucker's neighbors, as well as other law officers. He was described as kind and friendly and always willing to lend a helping hand.
"When you lose an individual like Mark, because he was so well known, and him being president of the lodge and a U.S. marshal, it rocks our entire organization," said officer Michael Gillespie. "Anytime a law enforcement officer dies, it's personal."
Said Harrison: "He was well-liked, very low key. He was a good officer. He didn't have any enemies, as far as we know."