A North Carolina community is mourning the loss of Henderson County police officer Ryan Hendrix, who was shot and killed in the line of duty. Hendrix, 35, was a Marine veteran and father of two children, ages six and nine.
Henderson County Deputy Ryan Hendrix was responding to a car burglary at around 2:50 a.m. on Thursday after a homeowner called 911. The suspect, Robert Ray Doss Jr., appeared to be cooperating with police officers at first.
The suspect “initially appeared to comply with lawful orders to show the deputies his hands…but in one rapid movement, he retrieved the gun, firing one round, striking [Hendrix] in the face and critically wounding him,” Sheriff Lowell Griffin said during a Thursday press conference.
Two other deputies returned fire and killed Doss, a “career criminal with arrests in Georgia, South Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia,” according to Fox News. Doss had a lengthy rap sheet, including crimes for drugs, multiple arsons, and felony thefts, Griffin said.
Hendrix was taken to the hospital, but later died from his injuries.
“It is with a very heavy heart the family of Henderson County Deputy Ryan Hendrix and Sheriff Lowell Griffin announce Ryan’s passing,” the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. “Early this morning while the world slept, Ryan responded to assist a family needing help when they became innocent victims of a violent encounter.”
“Even in passing Ryan continues to exemplify a servant’s heart,” the post read. “You see, Ryan was also an organ donor. He will continue to help strangers for a lifetime, even after making the ultimate sacrifice.”
The Hendrix family released a statement that said, “Ryan was doing the job he was born to do and he died doing the job he loved.”
Besides leaving behind his two young children, he leaves behind his fiancee, who he was set to marry in October.
Hendrix had been with the sheriff’s department for eight years, and before that, he was a Marine.
Sheriff Griffin said Hendrix was “an exemplary officer who was also a member of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team, serves as a field training officer, and assists in many other capacities.”
North Carolina Governor Cooper (D) wrote, “Kristin and I are praying for Ryan Hendrix, who was shot and killed this morning while trying to keep his community safe. Our thoughts are with his loved ones, the Henderson County Sheriff’s Dept. and the entire community.”
“God bless the family of Marine veteran and Henderson County Deputy Ryan Hendrix, who was shot and killed in the line of duty,” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) wrote on Twitter. “Susan and I are praying for him, his family, and his fellow Henderson County deputies.”
The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office teamed up with the North Carolina Police Benevolent Foundation to create a fundraising page for Hendrix’s family; 100% of the proceeds will go to his family.
Zechariah Cartledge is the boy who is the face of Running 4 Heroes, an organization that raises awareness and funds for first responders who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. On Sept. 11, Cartledge went to North Carolina to show support for Hendrix as well as the first responders who lost their lives in the 9/11 terror attacks.
Cartledge ran with Henderson County law enforcement members as they were trailed by police vehicles with their lights flashing and sirens blaring as a tribute to Hendrix.