TABOR CITY, NC (WWAY) – Hundreds gathered at South Columbus High School to pay their respects to state trooper Kevin Conner. Conner was shot and killed last Wednesday while attempting a traffic stop.
Law enforcement from across the country joined the Conner family, their friends, and their community to say goodbye.
“His strength, his love and that million-dollar smile,” those are the memories Diana Garcia carries with her about Conner.
“He had a very contagious smile. He was always uplifting,” said Highway Patrol spokesman First Sgt. Michael Baker, who knew Conner. “He was always positive. He was just a prime example of a good person.”
Conner was remembered more for what he did outside of his job. Many people told us he constantly went above and beyond the call of duty.
“He literally put the ‘S’ in service,” Sgt. Baker said. “He was a very serving person. Like I told somebody earlier, the old term, ‘A person will give you the shirt off their back,’ He literally would.”
Garcia knows that all too well. Her brother worked alongside Conner. When her brother died she says Conner often came to check in on the family.
“Tpr. Conner took his time out of his busy schedule and stopped by our home to see how we were progressing with my brother’s loss,” Garcia said.
That’s because Conner, as she put it, was a apart of the family. It’s that family of law enforcement that showed up to show out for Tpr. Conner. Hundreds of friends, family and law enforcement agencies from as far away as Alaska came to Tabor City to honor a hometown hero.
“It’s about respect,” said Jeff Tripp with the Blue Knights of North Carolina. “We’re all brothers in blue. We are the thin blue line.”
Conner leaves behind a legacy not of just honoring and enforcing the law, but of spreading love.
“We’re going to do everything we can to get over it the best we can, but I don’t think we ever will,” Baker said.
Through the grief and the pain, there is one thing, each and every person can remember about Conner.
“Remember that beautiful smile. He is truly a trooper,” Garcia said.
The trooper will be laid to rest at Fowler-Stanley Cemetery in Mollie.