Local News

Civic Center Seats Filled for Trooper's Funeral

Posted September 26, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Law enforcement officers from near and far, friends, family, and admirers filled every seat of the Cumberland County Civic Center Friday morning to pay tribute to a fallen North Carolina State Trooper. The funeral for Trooper Ed Lowry got under way about 11 a.m.

Law enforcement officers came from all over the country -- some from as far away as California and Alaska -- in a great show of support for their peers. Sgt. Dale Keenum of the NC State Highway Patrol said Lowry had dedicated his career to helping others.

Marilyn Wurtz, a friend of the Lowry family, said there is a great deal of support in the community for the families left behind.

The NC Highway Patrol and Cumberland County Sheriff's Department have been handing out black ribbons with star medallions on them since the shooting happened. Many in the community are wearing the ribbons in a show of support and respect for law enforcement

It was the first of two services in this city Friday. At 2 p.m., many of the same mourners returned to the Civic Center for the funeral of Deputy David Hathcock -- killed during the same incident that took Lowry's life. Hathcock had touched the lives of many people through his work. During the afternoon service, a chaplain with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said Hathcock had undoubtedly moved on into the honor guard of heaven.

there were more than 2,000 persons, many of them troopers, police officers, deputies and military personnel, present at Hathcock's service. Hathcock was a 20-year veteran of the sherrif's department. He has left behind a wife and three sons. Cumberland County Commissioner Lee Warren spoke at the funeral.

Hathcock had responded to Lowry's call for help Tuesday because he happened to be nearby. Ordinarily, his duties were to deliver civil papers to county residents. N.C. Lt. Governor Dennis Wicker told mourners that Hathcock displayed tremendous courage.

Reverend Paul Keeter, Hathcock's pastor, called Hathcock a guardian angel in uniform. Many others who had attended both funerals agreed that it was a lot to take in one day.

At the beginning of Hathcock's service, there was an unusual round of applause when Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler announced that there was a

eyewitness to the shooting incident in attendance. That man came close to losing his own life in an attempt to get help for Lowry and Hathcock and in his effort to lead authorities to the suspects. The huge crowd of law enforcement officers got to their feet to give Ron Waters a standing ovation.

The shooting took place at midday Tuesday, after Lowry called for backup when a routine traffic stop turned bad. Cumberland County Deputy David Hathcock responded. After an attack with an automatic rifle and a high speed car chase, the two officers lay dead near their cruisers and two teenaged brothers from South Carolina were captured and jailed.

School administrators released some students early because of the two funerals. The students were released from classes two hours early at affected schools are in the Hope Mills area.

Photographers:Mike Joyner andRick Allen