Ricky Thompson was shot in an altercation with another man who was robbing his family's store. He was laid to rest Wednesday.
A volunteer firefighter for 14 years, Thompson spent much of his life helping others in need.
"You could always count on him," said Chief Rick Sutton of the Seven Springs Volunteer Fire Department.
Deputies said that early Saturday morning, before the sun came up, 54-year-old Roy Legg, who had been living in his car nearby, broke into the Thompson family store. Armed with a gun, Thompson went in to confront the intruder, who also had a gun.
Both men fired their weapons. Thompson was killed.
The family said Thompson's wife then used her car to block the suspect's escape until deputies arrived.
Legg, who also was shot, has been officially charged with murder. He was under medical observation at Central Prison in Raleigh on Wednesday.
Thompson's death touched a lot of people in Seven Springs. A funeral home director said that 1,500 people attended a visitation earlier this week -- roughly 10 times the population of Seven Springs.
It's a sad, sad situation," friend and firefighter Jerry Lynch said. "We're going to miss him, not only here at the fire station but also at the store."
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