400 Troopers Will Gather For Funeral
|Up to 400 West Virginia state troopers are expected to gather at the Ritchie County High School gym in Harrisville Monday to pay their respects to a colleague gunned down in the line of duty, a state police corporal said Sunday.
The law enforcement officials will be mourning the loss of Trooper Larry G. Hacker, who was shot to death last week while investigating a dispute between neighbors in Ritchie County.
Hacker, 34, of Harrisville was the first state police officer to die in the line of duty since 1989. He is to be buried Monday at Cedarville, Gilmer County, at the Dobbins Family Cemetery, following the funeral service.
Among those scheduled to attend the service were Gov. Gaston Caperton and Col. Thorn Kirk, superintendent of the state police.
Cpl. B.D. Adkins of the Parkersburg. detachment of the state police predicted Sunday upwards of 400 troopers will be at the public funeral service. "It's been pretty devastating," Adkins said of the tragic events last week. Hacker served in "A" company, based in Shinnston, while Parkersburg is "B" company.
The officers in "B" company got to know the quiet and efficient Hacker as did troopers across West Virginia.
"He was a model trooper," said Lt.. T.M. Snodgrass, the logistics officer at Elkins. "He was one of those people who just everybody liked."
Adkins estimated a couple hundred people paid their respects to Hacker, his family and friends Sunday afternoon at the McCullough-Rogers Funeral Home in Pennsboro. Kirk was in attendance at the funeral home, Adkins said.
Hacker died shortly after midnight Thursday, two hours after he was shot in a rural area three miles east of Pullman. Dennis Ferguson, 67, of Pullman is charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond in the Ritchie County Jail in Harrisville.
Ferguson will have a preliminary hearing Wednesday afternoon before Magistrate David Haugh. A bond hearing must be set before a circuit judge, explained Ritchie County prosecutor David Hanlon.
Attorney Keith White of St Marys has been appointed Ferguson's lawyer.
News of the shooting shocked the troopers' community.
"When it came across the teletype. I didn't want to believe it. It's just a sad thing," said Trooper S.E. Paugh in the Martinsburg detachment, across the state from Harrisville, where Hacker was stationed.
"I didn't know him well. But you always feel like you know other
troopers in the organization," Paugh said. "There's a real strong brotherhood."
"He was one of our fellas," said Cpl. L. A. Jeffries of the Charles Town detachment. "It doesn't matter whether we knew him personally or not. He was a member of our department He was one of our team."
Cpl. Charles Cole of the Martins-burg detachment said Hacker's death "brings back a sense of reality" to troopers statewide.
"We all know that the job carries a great deal of potential danger,"
Cole said. "We condition ourselves not to have the danger rule our feelings and lives. This tends to shock us."
'it always makes a little shiver run down my spine when I think that we have lost someone that was just trying to make the world a better place to live in," Jeffries said.
Hacker, a three-year veteran of the state police, is survived by his wife and two children. He previously was stationed in the St. Marys detachment
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Trooper Hacker Memorial Scholarship Fund in care of Ritchie County High School.