Local News

Longtime Durham detention officer dies

Posted November 16, 2020 7:05 p.m. EST
Updated November 17, 2020 11:25 a.m. EST

— The Durham County Sheriff's Office is mourning the death of one of its long-time lieutenants.

Terry Sampson, known as "Samp" to those who worked with him, died Saturday at Duke Regional Hospital.

Sampson, 60, worked for the sheriff's office for 28 years, retiring in 2018, before returning part-time last year to work on background checks for recruits.

Colleagues called Sampson a bright light, someone who brought energy and positivity to his job.

"It’s just hard. It’s just hard. It is," said Diane Edwards, another former sheriff's office employee. "I’m still trying to cope with it. It’s shocking, you know. It’s shocking."

A spokeswoman said the sheriff's office couldn't release Sampson's cause of death for privacy reasons.

"Sheriff [Clarence] Birkhead and the entire agency offer our condolences to the Sampson family and will provide any support they need in this time of bereavement," the sheriff's office said in a statement.

"[He was] such a very good guy, friendly guy – his smile, his wisdom," Edwards said. "He was funny. He was kind of like a comedian guy, but he took his work seriously. ... His calling could’ve been comedian. He was just so full of life, full of life.

Funeral arrangements for Sampson haven't been set.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.