Yadkin County Residents Recall Death Of Police Officer

5:29 PM, Oct 4, 2012   |    comments
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Jonesville, NC -- Neighbors in Yadkin County are reacting to news they say is 16-years overdue.

A suspect is now in custody in a highway shooting that killed Sergeant Greg Martin in 1996.

View a slideshow of Sgt. Greg Martin's family photos.

The routine traffic-stop-turned-murder was the first officer-involved incident that led to a policeman's death in that area.

Read previous story about Sgt. Martin's Death.

For some in the community, it's been 16 years of fear, looking over their shoulders and wondering, "was it someone from our hometown?"

Some residents News 2 spoke with say they are relieved to know investigators did not let Sgt. Martin's case turn cold.

"I've hoped for years they caught whoever done it," said Tommy Chappell who lived just outside Jonesville when the shooting occurred.

Just as quickly as the news spread in the community the night the officer died, so did news of the suspect's arrest 16 years later. But this time, the feeling was different.

"I just felt elation and gladness when I found out that they had found the person that did this, or supposedly the person," said another Yadkin County resident, Barbara Lyon.

After all this time, many in the community still remember October 5th, 1996.

"Not only me," said Lyon. "I think other people remember as well because something like that, you just never, I don't think, you never forget in a small town."

Sgt. Martin was patrolling Interstate 77 that night.
He stopped a stolen red Dodge Ram after 2AM.

According to police, before he could defend himself, the suspect gunned him down.

"It was a very sad situation. No one deserves to pass on in that manner," said Chappell.

In 16 years, police have drawn three composites of suspects.

In May, Chief Roger Reece told News 2 the leads never stopped coming in, however, they never led anywhere.

That was until Wednesday.

"So much time had pass that you'd think, 'well, it's over, it's a cold case.'," said Lyon. "After these many years I'm surprised at how they went about finding him. 06:34 but I'm certainly glad."

Investigators had 200-mile crime scene that started in Virginia where they say the suspect stole a car.

Sergeant Martin pulled that car over on I-77 and that's where he was shot dead. That car was abandoned in Elkin where police say the suspect stole another one.

The second car was later found in Gastonia.

Just this year, 35 officers have died in our country. Thankfully, the "Officer Down Memorial Page Organization" says that number is lower than in years past.

When it comes to Sgt. Martin's case, Chappell says, "I hope they got the right one and I hope he gets justice," said

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