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Hero Down: Henderson County Deputy Ryan Hendrix Murdered By Gunman

Henderson County, NC – Henderson County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Deputy Ryan Hendrix was fatally shot in the line of duty on Thursday while responding to a report of a potential vehicle break-in.

The incident began at approximately 2:50 a.m. on Sept. 10, when a homeowner on Bethea Drive called 911 to report that someone had broken into their vehicle, WLOS reported.

The suspect used a crowbar to smash out the window of the homeowner’s residence after the owner yelled out at him, Henderson Sheriff Lowell Griffin said, according to WSOC.

The suspect then grabbed a gun from the homeowner’s vehicle, leading to an exchange of gunfire between him and the homeowner, Sheriff Griffin explained.

The resident was not injured during the shootout, police said.

The suspect initially seemed to be compliant with the deputies as they arrived at the scene, WSOC reported.

But as they ordered him to show his hands, he suddenly raised his gun and fired it once, hitting 35-year-old Deputy Hendrix in the face, Sheriff Griffin said.

Two other deputies returned fire, killing the suspect.

The gunman was later identified as multi-state offender and career criminal Robert Ray Doss, WSOC reported.

Doss was wanted out of South Carolina for violating parole at the time of the attack, and was previously convicted of felony theft charges, drug offense, and multiple larcenies, Sheriff Griffin said.

A second suspect was also taken into custody, but investigators have not released information about that individual, WLOS reported.

Deputy Hendrix was rushed to Mission Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds at 12:57 p.m., the HCSO said in a press release.

“Early this morning, while the world slept, Ryan responded to assist a family needing help when they became innocent victims of a violent encounter,” the department said, according to WSOC. “We all know the tragic outcome, but Ryan refuses to let the story end there.”

The HCSO said that Deputy Hendrix “continues to exemplify a servant’s heart” as an organ donor.

“He will continue to help strangers for a lifetime, even after making the ultimate sacrifice,” the sheriff’s office said. “Ryan’s family wants everyone to know that ‘Ryan was doing the job he was born to do and he died doing the job he loved.’”

Deputy Hendrix, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, leaves behind his nine-year-old daughter and his six-year-old son, WSOC reported.

He planned to marry his fiancé next month.

Deputy Hendrix joined the HCSO in 2012, according to Sheriff Griffin.

He has served as a field training officer and as a SWAT team member during his eight years of service, WLOS reported.

“He has done an outstanding job in every aspect that he served in,” the sheriff told WSOC.

Sheriff Griffin said that Deputy Hendrix’s murder has been an enormous blow to the department.

“We are all a family…and we’re all hurting right now,” he said.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ryan Hendrix, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Deputy Ryan Hendrix, your life mattered.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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