WALLACE -- A North Carolina National Guard soldier has died from wounds sustained during an attack that wounded 14 other soldiers assigned to his unit in Iraq. The Department of Defense said Tuesday that Staff Sgt. Emanuel Pickett, 34, of Teachey, died Sunday in Baghdad. Wallace Police Det. Emanuel Pickett was serving in Iraq with the National Guard. National Guard spokesman Maj. Matt Handley said Pickett and the other soldiers were hit during mortar or rocket attacks on their base. Handley said the wounded included nine soldiers from the North Carolina National Guard and five from New Hampshire who were attached to the MP company. Wallace Police Chief Bobby Maready says Pickett was more than just a co-worker: he was a good friend, too. He said, "Everybody's got a big void that's not going to be filled for a long time, everybody is still in shock about it." Maready and his team are stunned that their fellow officer is dead. He said, "It's a tragedy. We're all going to miss him, police are a really close bunch, especially in a small department. It's more like a member of your family than a co-worker." Maready says that Pickett was helpful, easy-going and never complained -- not even the day he had to leave for Iraq. "This was his second tour and he never complained never grumbled about going back," Maready said. "It was something he was proud to do." But sadly, Pickett's second trip back to Iraq ended in tragedy. Maready was told Pickett was killed in a bomb attack. The tragic news of his death hit the police department hard. "He's going to be sorely missed," Maready said. "It's going to be tough on everybody." There's no word yet on funeral arrangements or when his body will be sent back to the US. Det. Pickett has three children.
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