Local News

Funeral Today for Sharpsburg Police Chief

Posted July 19, 1997

— Funeral services were held Sunday at Sharpsburg Baptist Church for Chief of Police Wayne Hathaway. The town where everyone knows each other must move on without one of its key citizens and public servants, who was fatally shot this week while answering a call about domestic violence.

Hathaway's wake Saturday night brought crowds of relatives, colleagues, friends and fellow officers from other units to Johnston Memorial Home in Rocky Mount.

Earlier Saturday the town took the first steps towards dealing with its grief, decorating every pole, door, and street sign with a bright blue ribbon. Hardee's employees spent part of the morning hanging up ribbons. They say it's their way to honor a man they had come to know.

Hathaway was shot in the head Thursday while responding to a domestic disturbance call. He died Friday morning.

His assailant, Abner Nicholson, has been charged with two counts of murder. After allegedly shooting Hathaway at point blank range, Nicholson also allegedly shot his wife Gloria Nicholson.

Several hours after the shootings, Nicholson was found in a cornfield near his trailer park home.

Hathaway was the Chief of Police for more than 20 years -- years that many say will never be forgotten.

Sharpsburg is the kind of town where you can still hear the hour signaled by a town whistle sounding. There's only one stop light. Kelley Portiss knew Hathaway. He says the chief was everyone's friend, and the loss is difficult to take.

Diane Batten knew Hathaway too. The convenience store clerk saw the chief in the store almost everyday. Batten says Hathaway always made it point to know the people of Sharpsburg.

Paula Powers says Hathaway's death hurts everyone because he had become an integral part of everyone's life. Angie Weaver took to the road handing out ribbons after his death. One of her first stops was the convenience store where Hathaway made daily trips.

Batten recalls the times Hathaway would come in at night or send his co-workers to escort the clerks to the bank and back. Whenever Hathaway was needed, he was there.


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