A North Carolina officer and Marine veteran was killed in the line of duty last week after being shot in the face as he responded to a break-in call.
Henderson County officer Ryan Hendrix, 35, was attempting to arrest a suspect from Virginia with two fellow officers on the morning of Sept. 10, when he was shot in the face.
Hundreds gathered on Sunday outside the Sheriff's Department to remember the officer, who left behind a fiancée, who he was due to marry next month, and two children—a 6-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter.
Hendrix was with the Henderson County Sheriff's Department for eight years before he was fatally shot last week.
"It is with a very heavy heart the family of Henderson County Deputy Ryan Hendrix and Sheriff Lowell Griffin announce Ryan’s passing," the sheriff's office wrote on Facebook 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.”
The sheriff’s office added that his family said they want everyone to know that “'Ryan was doing the job he was born to do and he died doing the job he loved."
"God bless the family of Marine veteran and Henderson County Deputy Ryan Hendrix, who was shot and killed in the line of duty," North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis (R) said in a statement on Twitter. "Susan and I are praying for him, his family, and his fellow Henderson County deputies.”
Sheriff Lowell Griffin said during a press briefing last week that the 35-year-old 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.”
He described the suspect as a “career criminal with arrests in Georgia, South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia,” with an extensive criminal record for offenses including arson, felony thefts and drugs. Griffin said an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
A former colleague of Hendrix, who worked alongside him as a detention officer at the Henderson County Detention Center, remembered him as a “hero.”
“Every moment with Ryan was filled with laughter, whether it be at work, his house or my house, or someone else’s house, it was always filled with laughter," he continued. "Every moment with him was great.”
“Ryan was a real-life walking hero. Everything about him made him a hero,” Norton said. “If more people in this world strive to be like Ryan this world would honestly be a better place,” Norton added.
The Sheriff's Office said it plans to lay Hendrix to rest on Friday, Sept. 18, at at Mud Creek Baptist Church at 403 Rutledge Dr. in Hendersonville.