Wilmington officers gather to remember one of their own

Posted by Laura Sinacori - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A memorial service will be held Monday afternoon for a Wilmington Police Officer who died while on duty last week.

28-year-old Richard Matthews was responding to a call when he lost control of his patrol car early Wednesday morning.  He hit a tree and was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Sunday afternoon, Wilmington Police, Highway Patrol, and the North Carolina Troopers Association gathered to practice Monday's memorial service.

They say it's important to practice for these types of events because they mean so much to law enforcement and the community.

"I think it's especially sad," said Adam Schwartzel a Mounted Unit Officer with the Wilmington Police Department.  "Especially here, because the last line of duty death that we had was 30 years ago, so a lot of people had never dealt with this before. A lot of people had never been through the experience of losing a fellow officer. I think it hit home pretty hard for us just because it's not a common occurrence and you don't want it to happen. But, when it does we try to do the best we can to honor the officer and honor the department."

Memorial services will take place Monday afternoon at 1:00 at St. Mark Catholic Church on Eastwood Road.

Eastwood Road from Cardinal Drive to Rogersville Road will be closed on Monday prior to the services from 12:15 to 12:45 PM.

Drivers should expect delays due to the memorial service from noon until 3:00 PM.  Matthews' family will lay him to rest in his hometown in Pennsylvania.

Donations in memory of Officer Matthews may be directed to:

TheWilmington Police Recreation Association
c/o Lt. Matt Hinson
615 Bess Street
Wilmington, NC  28401