Monday evening at Nishie G’s off India Hook Road in Rock Hill, the dining room will be filled with cops. The parking lot will be filled with cop cars.
That’s not because they’re expecting anything bad to happen at the restaurant.
Sometimes, those police officers who go out in the middle of the night to face criminals toting guns, for the sole reason of protecting people from those criminals, get shot.
It is left to those cops who remain to remember them – and the families, too.
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Monday’s event is a fundraiser, and the cops and anyone else who wants to remember officers who died while on duty can eat and donate a few bucks to help the families left with grief.
Myra McCants will be thankful. For almost 20 years, she has died a little bit each day, as her son the policeman died when a career criminal took his gun and shot him with it.
Brent McCants was 23, a deputy with the York County Sheriff’s Office just a couple of months after starting at the Rock Hill Police Department, when he was shot several times and killed during a traffic stop on Dave Lyle Boulevard.
Two men were involved. Dwayne Eric Forney was convicted of murder and remains in prison. The shooter, Mar-Reece Hughes, was convicted and sentenced to death in 1995.
Hughes remains on death row 17 years later, as the courts determine whether a man who ripped a gun from a policeman's holster and shot him repeatedly is mentally competent to be strapped into an electric chair.
"September will be 20 years since Brent was murdered," Myra McCants said Friday in her Lancaster home, which sits on a street now named Deputy Brent McCants Avenue.
"Every day I think about how he died. It is just sick what happened to my son. It is terrible when it happens to any police officer."
When a Lancaster County sheriff's deputy was shot - and survived - in November, the first set of flowers to arrive at the hospital came from Myra McCants. Her late father was also a policeman in Lancaster.
"These officers don't know if the next person they see is going to be the one to try and kill them," she said. "I just wanted that family to know that some of us out here do not forget when someone shoots at police."
Rock Hill Police officer John Rainier set up the Forever Blue Foundation to honor slain officers. That group is sponsoring Monday's fundraiser.
Rainier's best friend, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Jeff Shelton, was shot and killed in Charlotte in 2007. Another officer, Sean Clark, was also killed.
The killer in that crime is appealing his conviction for double murder on the same grounds as Hughes - mental incompetency.
After Shelton died, Rainier started the foundation to raise money for the families of officers just like Shelton, Clark and McCants.
"The fact is," Rainier said, "every officer who serves a warrant, stops a dope dealer, arrests a violent offender before another crime hurts somebody innocent - that time could be the time when the person becomes violent.
"It's a tiny percent of people out there who try to hurt us or worse. But those mean ones, they do."
Officers being shot at - and even killed - is on the rise. Just last month, an Aiken officer was killed. In late 2011, a convicted felon on a rampage through the city of York shot at officers with the York County SWAT team. That shooter was later killed by police before anyone in the public - or the officers - were hurt.
Every day since 1992, Myra McCants has thought of her son going to work that last day and never coming home. Her house is filled with pictures and paintings and honors and medals - all given and donated to honor her son's service.
"The only thing my son Brent ever wanted to be was a policeman," McCants said. "He wanted to help people. And he got killed doing it."
Want to go?
WHAT: Forever Blue Foundation fundraiser for family members of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty
WHEN: 4 to 8 p.m. Monday
WHERE: India Hook location of Nishie G's restaurant, 727 Dilworth Lane, Suite 105, Rock Hill. Dine in or take out. Mention the foundation's name, and 15 percent of the proceeds will be given to the organization.
The foundation was created by Rock Hill Police Officer John Rainier after Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officers Jeff Shelton and Sean Clark were killed in the line of duty in 2007.
Police go beyond the call of duty: Read about how a pair of York County sheriff's deputies helped a family on their own time after responding to a call at a home without heat or running water.