‘Ryan showed us what love is’: Hundreds attend celebration of life for deputy killed in line of duty

‘Ryan showed us what love is’: Hundreds attend celebration of life for deputy killed in line of duty
Eight-year veteran deputy Ryan Hendrix, 35, was a Marine veteran and has two children. He was engaged and set to be married in October. (Source: Henderson County Sheriff's Office)

HENDERSON COUNTY, N.C. (WYFF) - Hundreds of community members gathered in Henderson County Sunday night to remember Deputy Ryan Hendrix, the deputy who was killed in the line of duty earlier this week.

Hendrix died Thursday afternoon, after he was shot in the face by a suspect when he responded to an early morning car break-in call.

“My heart just breaks for (Hendrix’s family),” said Sophia Fowler of Fletcher, who has a son in law enforcement. “I just wish we could take the pain away and go back and change things, but we’re here for them and we love them and we just will always be there for them.”

“I know a lot of guys that are putting themselves in harm’s way and in today’s society, harm’s way is just climbing into their police car in the morning,” said Roy Snelson, president of the Sons of the Savior Motorcycle Ministries.

“(Law enforcement has) a hard job and they don’t get the credit that they deserve,” said Katie Gray from Hendersonville.

Hendrix’s family attended the ceremony.

Several chaplains between the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department and Hendersonville Police Department spoke Sunday evening.

“Ryan showed us what love is as he laid down his life for his friends,” said Anthony Craver, a chaplain for the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office.

Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin delivered a heartfelt message.

“The family of Ryan Hendrix is and will always be part of the family of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office and, tonight, I will let you know that we hurt,” said Griffin.

Ryan Hendrix’s father, Don, spoke about the strong support his family received from local law enforcement and the community during the last few days.

“I would like you to know the amazing community we have among the police force and the sheriff’s department here. They have wrapped their arms around us and put us through this difficult time, which we could not do otherwise,” said Don Hendrix.

Toward the conclusion of the service, people lit candles and sang Amazing Grace in honor of Hendrix, while the American Flag flew at half staff.

Johnny Duncan, with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, says services for Hendrix will take place on Friday, Sept. 18.

The sheriff’s office has set up a fund for Hendrix’s family. You can find the link to donate here.