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Hero Down: Wake County Sheriff’s Deputy Ned Byrd Murdered By Gunman

Wake County, NC – Wake County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) Deputy Ned Byrd was murdered in the line of duty while out on patrol on August 11.

Investigators said other WCSO deputies became concerned after they were unable to reach the 48-year-old deputy that night, so they went out looking for him, WTVD reported.

They found his patrol SUV parked near a gas station on Auburn Knightdale Road and Battle Bridge Road at approximately 1:06 a.m. on Aug. 12, WNCN reported.

Deputy Byrd, who was wearing a ballistic vest, had been shot multiple times while he was outside of his vehicle, The News & Observer reported.

His partner, K9 Sasha, was found sitting alone inside the SUV, leading investigators to believe that the gunman caught the veteran deputy off-guard, Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker told WTVD.

Investigators said they believe Deputy Byrd was murdered shortly after 11 p.m. on Aug. 11, WNCN reported.

Police said they are still searching for the killer.

Deputy Byrd had handled a call for service at a location approximately a mile away from the scene of the shooting earlier in the night, The News & Observer reported.

He cleared from the scene and entered his notes pertaining to that call, and had not checked out on anything else prior to being shot, according to police.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation are both working on the case, Sheriff Baker told WTVD.

They are hoping security footage from a nearby business and dashcam video from the patrol SUV will help them to identify the gunman, he said.

“It breaks my heart to have to report that a member of this office was fatally wounded… after about 11 p.m. last night in the line of duty,” Sheriff Baker said during an emotional press conference later in the night, according to WNCN. “We will find who’s responsible.”

The sheriff said local law enforcement officers need the community’s support and patience as they work to piece the case together.

“We ask for prayers, [and] we ask for patience as we go about finding out what happened and who is responsible,” Sheriff Baker said, according to WNCN.

The murder of the Wake County deputy marked the sixth occasion of a law enforcement officer being shot in the area in the past month, WTVD reported.

Sheriff Baker announced on Monday that a $100,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of Deputy Byrd’s killer, according to WTVD.

Deputy Byrd, a U.S. Air Force veteran, served the WCSO for 13 years, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

His longtime friend, Jason Culbreth, said Deputy Byrd was “the best friend you could ask for,” The News & Observer reported.

Culbreth said he and Deputy Byrd met at a jiu jitsu class 20 years ago.

“He was really a terrific human being. Just the best,” he told The News & Observer. “He was always putting himself out there to help anybody. If he could help you, he would. And if he couldn’t help you, he would find somebody who would. If the world had more people like Ned, the world wouldn’t be as crazy of a place as it is.”

Deputy Byrd served as a WCSO detention officer before he began working as a sworn deputy in 2018, Culbreth said.

“(Byrd) was the true definition of what it meant to serve others,” another longtime friend, Joel Schlieman, told The News & Observer. “He was the first person to show up and help, even when he wasn’t asked. He just did it because that’s the kind of guy he was. I think that’s what he was doing when he was working.”

Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Sig Hutchinson released a statement on Saturday on behalf of the board, the county said in a press release.

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Deputy Ned Byrd’s family, friends and the law enforcement community as they mourn his loss in a senseless act of violence,” Hutchinson said.

“Officer Byrd died while protecting the community he served and will always be remembered for his selfless sacrifice. Right now, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office and its partners are working around the clock to bring the shooter to justice,” the chairman continued.

“We ask the community to remember, that every shift, men and women across Wake County are pinning on their shield and walking out the door to protect us, hoping they will come home safely,” he said. “Gun violence not only affects community members, but it also targets law enforcement officers, and we need to work together to ensure these public servants have the tools, training and support to help keep them out of harm’s way.”

“Let us honor the brave men and women whose futures were cut short in the line of duty,” Hutchinson added.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper ordered all U.S. and state flags be lowered to half-staff on Friday in honor of Deputy Byrd, The News & Observer reported.

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

Deputy Ned Byrd, 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.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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