Local News

Sharpsburg Streets Lined with Mourners for Slain Police Chief

Posted July 21, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— For the second time this month, law enforcement officers from all over the state joined an entire community to honor and mourn a fallen comrade. Sunday, the tiny town of Sharpsburg turned out to say goodbye to its chief of police.

Chief Wayne Hathaway, 47, was shot and killed in the line of duty after serving Sharpsburg for more than half of his life.

During his 25 years of service, he became more than just a law enforcement officer. To many, he became a friend. Sunday, hundreds came out to say goodbye to that friend, vowing that his service to the community will never be forgotten.

As townspeople and travelers lined the streets, a 21-gun salute echoed throughout the small town as Chief Hathaway was laid to rest.

Fellow officers from across North Carolina said they were heartened by the support in such a tragic circumstance. Sgt. Ron Smith of the Pitt County Sheriff's Department said it made him feel good to see such a large turnout to pay respects to Chief Hathaway.

Sgt. Martin McCoy of the Rocky Mount Police Department said he felt the turnout also reflected the esteem in which Hathaway was held, and the type of person he was.

Hathaway was shot in the head while responding to a routine domestic dispute call last Thursday. He died at Duke Medical Center Friday morning.

Abner Nicholson is charged with the murder of his wife, Gloria Nicholson, and Hathaway. Police say Hathaway walked inside the couple's mobile home to talk to Nicholson. That's when police say Nicholson spun around, put a gun to the Chief's head and pulled the trigger. They say Nicholson then shot and killed his wife Gloria.

Memorial funds have been established at Triangle Bank, (P.O. Box 123, Sharpsburg, NC, 27878) in the names of both victims.