The Intense Feelings of Tragedy

While Eastern North Carolina has been trying to recover and rebuild from the devastation of back-to-back hurricanes, the unthinkable happened here. Trooper Kevin Conner, an 11-year veteran of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, pulled over a vehicle for speeding shortly after midnight.

Trooper Conner had no idea that the driver had stolen the vehicle, or that he had a violent history, or that he was armed. Just after walking up to the vehicle, Trooper Conner was gunned down, and left to lay there alone as the suspect sped off. A passerby found the injured officer almost an hour after he was ruthlessly shot. After a pursuit and foot chase, the suspect was apprehended hours after Trooper Conner had been pronounced deceased.

Kevin Conner

(Graphics courtesy Rose Borisow GrafX)

Every officer’s death saddens and angers me, but when it’s a former coworker, it intensifies those feelings 1,000 times over. While on duty, Trooper Conner performed numerous heroic acts, helped people that no one else thought deserved help, and brought so many honors to his badge.

Off duty, Kevin was well respected throughout the community, and had so much love and respect for his wife and their two children. They are truly an amazing family.

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There have been 118 line of duty deaths this year, 44 of those by gunfire. Just one should be unacceptable by society. How many heroes have to die before the people of this nation realize this must change, and be stopped? How many people know about all of these tragedies? How many make the national news? It has sadly become commonplace for violence against police officers, but yet the nation can be in an uproar over something that an actor said.

Where are the protests? Where is the support from Hollywood? The NFL? The politicians? Society? When did being a police officer become a profession that has been cast aside?

I have never worked with an officer who wasn’t incredibly proud of wearing the badge, and all that comes with it. They run headfirst to the threat, while protecting everyone else who is running away. They don’t know what anyone’s state of mind; history or intention is with each interaction. Each and every day, police officers know what the risks are, and how much hatred there is against law enforcement. Of the nations officers, 99.9 percent would lay down their lives to protect citizens; even those who want to see them dead.

I am sad beyond belief that Kevin is gone. I am angry that he was taken just because someone didn’t want to go back to jail. I am angry at the lack of respect and hatred towards a fallen officer … an officer who would have helped his killer turn his life around if he was given the chance.

– Lara Sue