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Hero cop retires from Fayetteville police force

Posted August 28, 2009

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— Assistant Police Chief Bill Simons was a lieutenant for the Fayetteville Police Department 16 years ago when he faced the toughest test of his law enforcement career.

Simons responded to a call at Luigi's restaurant on McPherson Church Road on Aug. 9, 1993, and arrived to find a shooting rampage going on inside.

Luigi's restaurant in Fayetteville, site of 1993 shooting spree Restaurant shooting didn't define police career

He sneaked in a back door and saw the restaurant's cook wounded on the kitchen floor. He also could hear others moaning and whimpering in the restaurant.

Simons confronted a man armed with a 12-gauge shotgun and shot once, wounding him, to end the bloodshed.

"You train for situations like that your entire life in police work, and you hope you never have to use it," Simons said Friday as he recalled the incident. "You train really hard to try to be on top of your game for any situation you run into, and you're never really prepared for it."

Four people, including Pete and Ethel Parrous, the husband and wife who owned Luigi's, were killed in the shooting spree, and seven others were wounded.

Kenneth French, who was a 22-year-old Fort Bragg soldier at the time, is serving four life sentences in prison for the shootings.

Weeks after the 16th anniversary of the shootings, Simons was honored Friday as he retired after 32 years on the Fayetteville police force.

"A true hero helps his community heal. A true hero pours his heart and soul into the profession," Police Chief Tom Bergamine said, choking back tears, at Simons' retirement ceremony.

Simons, who will continue to work 16 hours a month as a reserve officer, still downplays the actions he took to end the Luigi's shootings.

"If it hadn't been me, it would have been somebody else," he said. "You're thrust into situations at times, (and) you've got to deal with it."

The real hero that night, he said, was a man who was killed shielding his son from the gunfire.

"It was a terrible night for the city," he said.

Luigi's remains a popular place to eat in Fayetteville, and Nick Parrous, the son of the slain restaurant owners, said the shooting has never defined the restaurant or Simons.

"His humility is something we should all aspire to," Parrous said.

11 Comments

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  • bcarolinabreeze Aug 28, 2009

    Have a happy and long retirement and thanks for a career well done.

  • farm Aug 28, 2009

    Give it up Journey..... watch the video. He shot to kill. The shot to the chin took the gunman down. Most likely the officer was using a revolver, not a semi automatic.

  • Journey985 Aug 28, 2009

    Wow, this officer was confronted by a man with a shotgun and shot to wound him,AMAZING....perhaps the officers involved in the shooting of the UNARMED UNC student can take some lessons. Good work and happy retirement!!!

  • RowdyFriend Aug 28, 2009

    I also worked at the same Roses store in the 80's, and I have never forgotten Bill Simons, I often think of him when I see a FPD cruiser out on the street. If I'm not mistaken, his father was also a career LEO. Lt. Simons was someone who made an impact on you regardless of how well he knew you; always positive and always doing his job the best way he could. Thank you, sir, for your service and your example. And a shout out to simracer68 from the red stocker.

  • Diabolical Aug 28, 2009

    My bad it was the Sheriff's Dept. Office that bought lunch. Anyways Happy retirement. Hope everything works out.

  • Just the facts mam Aug 28, 2009

    Good story

  • bubbba Aug 28, 2009

    Now that is a true hero!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • GWALLY Aug 28, 2009

    Have a happy and safe retirement!!! You deserve it!!!

  • Groovy Aug 28, 2009

    Wow, what a story. It's good to have inspiration even out of tragedy. God Bless him.

  • simracer68 Aug 28, 2009

    I remember Mr. Simons from back-in-the-day down in Fayetteville. I worked at a Rose's there back in the 1980s and he would moonlight sometimes at that shopping center after dark, as security...He was always a very straight forward LEO with a good personality and demeanor about him. I wish you well in your retirement Bill.

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