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Slain Lenoir County deputy laid to rest

Posted April 11, 2009
Updated April 12, 2009

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— A Lenoir County sheriff's deputy killed this week in the line of duty was laid to rest Saturday.

Detective Allen Pearson, 29, of LaGrange, was one of two sheriff's deputies shot while responding to a 911 call Wednesday evening.

Authorities said he and Deputy Ryan Dawson were involved in a shootout with Clarence Douglas Phillips, who began firing as the deputies approached a wooded area near Grifton where Phillips had been hiding.

The deputies returned fire, authorities said, and Phillips, 43, died from gunshot wounds he sustained during the shootout. Craven County authorities believe Phillips also killed his girlfriend, Cynthia Tillet Knighten, 49.

Dawson was also injured. He was released from a local hospital two days later.

Pearson had served with the sheriff's office for eight years and was a certified Basic Law Enforcement Training instructor at Lenoir Community College.

He is survived by his wife, mother, father and siblings.

The Pearson family has requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Lenoir Community College Foundation, c/o Rickie Allen Pearson Jr. BLET Scholarship, P.O. Box 188, Kinston, N.C. 28502.

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