Easley, SC – Easley Police Department (EPD) Officer Matthew Hare died in the line of duty on Wednesday morning when he was struck by a train while trying to help a citizen who was experiencing a mental health crisis.
The incident began at approximately 5 a.m. on Aug. 2, when the EPD received a 911 call about a person who was suffering from a mental health issue, the EPD said in a press release later that day.
Officers responded to the area and located the individual on the railroad tracks near the 2000-block of East Main Street about an hour after the call came in.
“While attempting to remove the person from the tracks, Officer Matthew Hare was struck by the train,” the EPD said. “Tragically, Officer Hare did not survive.”
Officer Hare succumbed to his injuries at the scene, WHNS reported.
A second officer and the person who was rescued from the tracks were not injured.
The train involved in the fatal incident was an Amtrack passenger train enroute to New Orleans from Greenville, The State reported.
No other details were immediately released.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SCLED) is handling the ongoing investigation at the request of the EPD.
Officer Hare, 22, was a graduate of Easley High School who completed the police academy just five months ago, WYFF reported.
“This is a tragic day for our officer’s family, the Easley Police Department, the City of Easley, and the State of South Carolina,” the EPD said.
“Officer Hare died saving the life of someone he did not know. He was called to protect and serve and that is exactly what he did every day. He is a HERO,” his department said. “This loss is incredibly difficult for The Easley Police Department and our community…Please keep this officer’s family and the Easley Police Department in your thoughts and prayers.”
A fundraising page established to help Officer Hare’s family in the wake of their loss has raised more than $14,000 so far.
Rip to my former teammate and friend Officer Matthew Hare . You won’t be forgotten and you died as a hero . Praying for your family 🙏 keep a watch over Easley up there 🕊️ pic.twitter.com/7uSN1ZtUWo
— Doug Miller (@DougMiller_39) August 3, 2023
A memorial is growing outside @EasleyPD (SC) where Officer Matthew Hare's SUV is parked. He was hit by an Amtrak train, as he was trying to get a woman off the tracks who was suffering a mental health crisis. He died a true HERO, saving the woman. pic.twitter.com/E0FESrR143
— Cody Alcorn (@CodyAlcorn) August 2, 2023
Easley Police Department lost a hero in the line of duty today. Officer Matthew Hare made the ultimate sacrifice to save another.
Our hearts are breaking for his family, friends and the entire community. Chief Wuchenich and USCPD send our sincerest condolences to EPD. 💔 pic.twitter.com/s9kATNgQmj
— USC Police (@USCPD) August 2, 2023
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Easley Police Department Officer Matthew Hare, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.