Local News

US marshal remembers slain friend, talks about job dangers

Posted July 4, 2011 12:04 p.m. EDT
Updated July 4, 2011 7:43 p.m. EDT

— Last month, the dangers of law enforcement were realized in Kinston, where a member of the U.S. Marshals’ Violent Fugitive Task Force was killed while serving a murder warrant.

Scott Parker, the U.S. Marshal for the eastern district of North Carolina, knows the risks of law enforcement better than most. He recommended that Nash County Deputy Warren Lewis join the task force, a job that ultimately cost Lewis his life.

On June 9, Lewis went to a house on West Lenoir Avenue to serve outstanding warrants for murder, authorities said, when someone opened fire as he and a marshal approached the house.

Lewis, 38, died in the shooting. He left behind a wife and two daughters – ages 14 and 11.

“It hit me square in the face,” Parker said. “I think about it every day … He always will be missed, and I think each day when we go out and do our jobs, he’ll be on our minds.”

Lewis was one of several task force officers killed in the U.S. this year.

“This is a violent fugitive task force. The people they go after may have committed murders, rapes, robberies or other violent crimes,” Parker said. “These people, mostly, have already made the decision (that) they are not going back to jail.”

The risk to law enforcement in the U.S. is growing, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website dedicated to fallen law enforcement officers. So far this year, 40 police officers have been shot to death in the U.S. – a 38 percent increase over last year, according to the website.

With every door they knock on and every prisoner they arrest, there is always a chance something could go wrong, Parker said.

“We all have to deal with it in our own way,” he said.

Lewis, known as “Sneak,” spent three years on the fugitive task force. Four people are charged with murder in connection with his death.