RALEIGH, N.C. — While a teenager who killed a decorated Wake County deputy sat in jail on first-degree murder charges, the slain deputy's widow said she holds no animosity toward the suspect.
Patricia Tucker also sent her heartfelt condolences to the parents of 18-year-old Matthew Grant,
who confessed Saturday to shooting and killing Deputy Mark Tucker
Grant said he was shooting his shotgun in a field when Tucker approached him. Deputies said Grant was on probation, got scared and shot Tucker.
Two other teens also are under arrest, charged as accomplices for helping Grant come up with an alibi.
Patricia Tucker said she was relieved, but also saddened, by Saturday's turn of events. She showed great strength as she talked to news crews about her husband.
"He was the greatest man in my life," she said of her husband of more than 20 years. "I've got two really good ones sitting on either side of me, but he was the greatest man in my life."
Flanked by her two sons, Chad and Matthew, Patricia Tucker said she is leaning on her faith to stay strong.
"If it weren't for God, my father, I would not do this," she said. "He supplies me with an amazing amount of strength every few minutes to keep me going through this."
Patricia Tucker even mustered the courage and grace to address the suspects' families.
"I pray they can find some comfort somewhere and know that I do not have any animosity or hatred toward their children," she said. "I just don't like the events that happened and the results that came from it."
Patrica Tucker admitted that she knew the risks of her husband's job. In fact, she said Saturday, they talked about it 24 years ago after Raleigh police officer D.D. Adams was shot and killed on duty.
"When he (Mark Tucker) came home that night, I said this is it," she said. "You are out of this business. You are not leaving me with a fatherless child."
She said her belief in a higher power changed her mind.
"I said I guess I'm going to have to leave you in hands greater than mine and hope that he brings you home every night," she said. "And for over 26 years, he did."
Patricia Tucker said her husband died doing what he loved. And she made a point to thank the countless officers who have been working around the clock to solve this case.
She said deputies do not get the respect they deserve and that they do a dangerous, low-paying job that no one else wants. She called her husband a "rare breed" and part of "homeland defense."
Grant's family, meanwhile, issued a statement following his arrest Saturday.
"A senseless act by one young man has ruined many lives," the statement read, "not only his own, but the family of Deputy Mark Tucker, his friends who tried to cover up for him, his own parents, and to some extent his brothers and their families.
"We deeply regret the hurt, sense of loss and anguish being felt by the family of Mark Tucker.
Funeral arrangements have been set for Deputy Tucker. Visitation takes place Sunday afternoon at the Brown-Wynne Funeral Home on Maynard Road in Cary.
The funeral is Monday at 3 p.m. at Midway Baptist Church in Raleigh.
Deputy Tucker will be buried at Montlawn Memorial Park.