Local News

Wife of slain Lenoir County deputy discusses his legacy

Posted April 8, 2010 3:23 p.m. EDT
Updated April 8, 2010 7:11 p.m. EDT

— Katherine Pearson knew that life as the wife of a sheriff's deputy came with the risk of losing him, but she never thought she’d be a widow at age 29.

A year ago Thursday, Allen Pearson, of LaGrange, was one of two Lenior County deputies shot while responding to a 911 call off of Tick Bite Road, near Grifton.

Authorities said he and Deputy Ryan Dawson were involved in a shootout with Clarence Douglas Phillips, who began firing as the deputies approached a wooded area where Phillips had been hiding.

Pearson and Phillips died from gunshot wounds suffered during the shootout. Dawson was injured, but survived.

“Some days, it feels like it just happened. Some days, it feels like it’s been 10 years,” Katherine Pearson said.

The shooting happened one month shy of the couple’s second wedding anniversary – May 5.

“I miss him more today than I did yesterday, and I’ll miss him more tomorrow than I did today,” she said.

Allen Pearson, 29,  had served with the sheriff's office for eight years and was a certified Basic Law Enforcement Training instructor at Lenoir Community College.

He was posthumously awarded a law enforcement Purple Heart, and a foundation was formed in his honor to help emergency service agencies purchase equipment.

The city of Kinston also changed the name of a local park to Pearson Park. Katherine Pearson said it is a place where her husband loved to visit and listen to live beach music.

“He could shag, wonderful dancer,” she said. “He would intimidate me (because) he was so good.”

At the time of his death, Katherine Pearson said they were planning to start a family.

“I think about him every day, all the time. But he keeps me going,” she said.

Next month, Allen Pearson’s name will be added to a national memorial in Washington ,D.C., honoring law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

“I am angry that it happened, but I try to not let it consume…that part consume me,” she said.