York Co. sheriff tells hundreds at vigil for officer, ‘we’ve got your back’
Hundreds of residents gathered outside the York County Courthouse Sunday to pay their respects to a York County officer who lost his life in the line of duty and three others who were shot and seriously wounded in the same incident last week.
The Rev. Dr. Carlton Brown, chaplain for the York County Sheriff’s Office, opened the prayer vigil.
“These are difficult times and we are reminded that the only thing that can stamp out hate is love,” Brown said. “Together we have come in solidarity to let the world know that we are standing behind all of our first responders, our law enforcement community ... let them know that they have our full support.”
Det. Mike Doty died Wednesday after he and three other police offers were shot in what authorities describe as an ambush Tuesday by a domestic violence suspect. Sheriff’s K-9 Sgt. Randy Clinton and Sgt. Buddy Brown are hospitalized in Charlotte. York Police Department Sgt. Kyle Cummings, also shot, was discharged Thursday.
Mayor Eddie Lee said his father was a police officer for 25 years.
“My father hated domestic calls like the one our four officers faced late Monday night and early Tuesday,” Lee said. “The tension of a wrecked family, the smell of potential danger, the uncertainty, the emotions and sounds and darkness and the life and death decisions that must be made in a split second. But my father always said you take the calls, you can’t pick and choose.”
That’s exactly what the four officers did, Lee said.
“They took the calls into the darkness, into the uncertainty, into the chaos, fearlessly, courageously trying to help people,” he said. “We salute them and others like them. God bless them and their families.”
The Rev. Matt McGarity, chaplain of the York County Sheriff’s Office, said residents have come together to show their support for first responders and local police officers.
“This is a time we find comfort in community and we’re reminded that we are encouraged and we are strengthened in the common unity that we share as citizens of York County and the surrounding,” he said.
City of York Police Chief Andy Robinson said he thanks the community for its show of support.
“The S.W.A.T. officers know that when they are called out, it’s never good,” he said. “But all these law enforcement officers have the courage, compassion, strength and desire to help our fellow man. That’s part of what creates this bond.”
York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said the county has shown its strength in the days following the shootings.
“Our officers are amazed at the support from this community,” he said. “If you want to bring a community together, try and destroy it. If you want to bring our law enforcement brothers and sisters together, try and destroy them because you’re only making us stronger.”
The vigil ended with “Amazing Grace” as hundreds of residents held up lit candles in honor of officers Doty, Clinton, Brown and Cummings.
Doty’s funeral is set for noon Monday at Calvary Church in Charlotte, located at 5801 Pineville-Matthews Road. Residents planning to attend should access the church via the second entrance to the church, located on Rea Road south of the intersection with Pineville-Matthews Road.
Amanda Harris: 803-328-4082