WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - More than 1,500 people gathered in an estimated 800 vehicles to ride for deceased North Carolina state trooper Kevin Conner on Saturday.
The charity ride to benefit trooper Conner, who was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Columbus County last month, raised more than $20,000.
“We’re trying to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the car community," said event organizer James Desmond. "We wanted a chance to help his family. We put that event up and when we made it, it just exploded. When we made it, we thought it would be at most 100 vehicles and we had that within 12 hours, and then we were at 150 and it has blown up to what you see here today.”
12 agencies across 9 counties rode over 200 miles to help with escorts.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in Columbus county before," said Bill Gore, a friend of Trooper Conner. "Unfortunately we have had officers killed in the line of duty the most recent being about 20 years ago and while there’s always a great outpouring of emotion and sympathy the public expressions of sorrow and support for Kevin’s family have absolutely been unparalleled”
The ride left from Four Seasons Town Center in Greensboro and made two stops along the way, one in Rockingham and another in Whiteville, before ending at Mac’s Speed Shop in Wilmington.
The ride arrived at the Columbus County Agricultural Fairgrounds at 886 Prison Camp Rd in Whiteville around 1:30 p.m. and stayed until around 3:45 p.m.
It left for Wilmington and arrived at Mac’s Speed Shop at 4126 Oleander Dr in Wilmington around 5:15 p.m.
Visitors parked at Independence Mall. The parking lot for Mac’s Speed Shop was closed off for motorcycles.
All riders were asked to donate $20 per vehicle. All proceeds will go to Trooper Conner’s family.
“He was a special guy," said Gore. "He was always smiling he had a great personality. He was one of those fellas that when you saw him you couldn’t wait to see him again he enjoyed the outdoors. He enjoyed hunting and fishing he enjoyed the water. He was committed to his job and to his family and we’d be much better off if the world had more Kevin Conners”
The event is organized by East Coast Coyotes, an organization dedicated to helping the families of officers killed in the line of duty.
You can find more information about the charity ride here.