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‘Tragedy binds us together’: Fallen York County deputy honored with road dedication

VIDEO: Fallen York Co. deputy remembered with Dave Lyle signs

Former York County Deputy James "Brent" McCants was shot and killed in the line of duty in September of 1992. Twenty-five years later, hundreds of drivers each day will see two new signs on Rock Hill’s Dave Lyle Boulevard in memory of McCants. Yor
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Former York County Deputy James "Brent" McCants was shot and killed in the line of duty in September of 1992. Twenty-five years later, hundreds of drivers each day will see two new signs on Rock Hill’s Dave Lyle Boulevard in memory of McCants. Yor

Tragedy binds people together, said York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson. So does the memory of a fallen officer, who continues to inspire local law enforcement officers 25 years after his death.

Hundreds of drivers each day will see two new signs on Rock Hill’s Dave Lyle Boulevard marking the memory of the late York County Deputy James “Brent” McCants, who was shot to death during a traffic stop in September 1992.

Nearly three decades later, police officers of all stripes came out in solidarity Tuesday to dedicate a stretch of Dave Lyle Boulevard in McCants’ name. The memorial signs will be placed between the intersection of Dave Lyle, Interstate 77 and U.S. 21 in Rock Hill.

“It’s a beautiful thing to see so many people out here today,” said Tolson, facing a large crowd at the Manchester Meadows soccer complex. “This is a joyous day.”

McCants was a 23-year-old deputy with the York County Sheriff’s Office when two men murdered him during a traffic stop on Dave Lyle Boulevard.

More than 100 police officers from agencies across York County searched for and arrested the two men, Dwayne Eric Forney and Mar-Reece Hughes, within hours of the killing.

Forney was convicted of murder and remains in prison. The shooter, Hughes, was convicted and sentenced to death in 1995. Hughes remains on death row.

Tolson asked for a show of hands from those at Tuesday’s ceremony who helped search the woods for suspects that night. Around 15 to 20 hands rose and a ripple of applause echoed through the room.

Sometimes God prunes us and sometimes he grows us. Out of tragedy comes a blessing.

State Rep. and Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope

“I love (James McCants) with all my heart,” said his mother, Myra McCants. “He loved life and he loved his job. If you have a calling to be a police officer, it takes a rare man or woman to put on the uniform and risk being shot.”

State Rep. and S.C. Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope was a York County deputy that night, and later served as a solicitor in the McCants case. He said justice “took a team effort,” and said he felt he and Myra McCants were brought together for a reason.

“Sometimes God prunes us and sometimes he grows us,” said Pope. “Out of tragedy comes a blessing.”

Former York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant said he cherished his friendship with McCants.

“You’ve been through hell,” said Bryant. “The love you have for you son has never waned.”

You’ve been through hell. The love you have for you son has never waned.

Former York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant

David Thackham: 803-329-4066, @dthackham

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