RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Family, friends and the law enforcement community gathered on Friday to remember and honor the life of slain Wake County deputy, Ned Byrd. Outside Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, hundreds of those in law enforcement agencies lined up in the parking lot to pay their respects.
“He went out of his way to help others and put someone else—often strangers—above himself. You could reach out to Ned any time of day, for any reason he’d be there for you,” said Ryan Schmidt, a friend of Byrd’s.
Byrd served at the Wake County Sheriff’s Office for 13 years, first as a detention officer and most recently as a K9 officer, until his death.
He was shot and killed in the line of duty last week near Battle Bridge and Auburn Knightdale roads.
Friends say he was avid in jiu-jitsu and loved his K9, Sasha.
“He loved Sasha. She was his child and he loved her and was proud of her,” said Jason Culbreth, Byrd’s Jiu-Jitsu coach.
North Carolina Governor, Roy Cooper, and Wake County Sheriff, Gerald Baker, were also in attendance. Baker told the crowd his office and other law enforcement officers are working hard to bring justice to the family.
“We pray today never comes again. God bless you, Ned. We love you,” said Baker.
As the Wake County Sheriff’s Office continues their investigation, Baker announced the reward for any information that leads to additional arrests has been increased from $100,000 to $125,000.
Wake County offered the extra $25,000 for the reward, officials said Friday.
In a powerful moment at the funeral, a cousin of Byrd’s, Elina Pereira shared a clear message for those involved in his death.
“When Ned was taken in this violent and barbaric way, if it was meant to frighten and undermine the very fabric and stability of this community you failed, because we have a message for you. We will rise together, stronger and united. We will carry his spirit because what Ned left in each of us cannot be taken,” Pereira said.
Byrd is survived by his sister, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.