Colleagues Say Slain Trooper Friend to All
Slain state trooper Larry G. Hacker was remembered Friday as a caring and easygoing public servant who had a positive impact not only on family and friends, but also on colleagues and his community.
'He was just the all-American boy," said Lt. T.M. Snodgrass, the logistics officer at Elkins. "He liked the outdoors, he liked to hunt and fish. He was good with his family and worked with people in the community. He was one of those people who just everybody liked."
Hacker, 34, a four-year veteran of the West Virginia State Police, died early Friday at Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital from a gunshot wound sustained in the line of duty. He was shot late Thursday while answering a call in rural Ritchie County. Ritchie Countian Dennis Ferguson, 67, has been charged with murder in connection with Hacker's shooting.
Flags flew at half-mast Friday at all state buildings and the state Legislature paused its last-minute workings to honor the fallen trooper.
Hacker, a 1989 graduate of the state Police Academy, had served both the Ritchie and Pleasants county detachments, recently requesting a transfer back to Ritchie. He was a member of the state Troopers Association and
served for eight years as a night watchman at Glenville State College.
Snodgrass, a Harrisville native, said he was proud to have an officer like Hacker protecting his hometown.
"He was the model trooper," Snodgrass said. "If I had to show a new trooper how to act as a trooper, I could show him Larry. I never had a problem with him following an order. He was very spit and polish." Snodgrass cited as one example Hacker's meticulous care of his police cruiser. "His was always spotless. I assigned him a new one a month ago and you could tell how proud he was of it," Snodgrass said.
The lieutenant cited Hacker's involvement in the community and his work with youth at Ritchie County schools. "Since I'm from there, I was glad someone like him was in Harrisville and Ritchie County," Snodgrass said.
He recalled that when the state performed Hacker's background check, it came in just like his vehicle - spotless. Trooper Ronald G. Blevins, who worked with Hacker at the Harrisville office, said Hacker cannot be replaced.
"He was a once-in-a-lifetime friend," Blevins said. "You just don't get them like Larry."
Blevins was Hacker's training officer, but the veteran trooper said their relationship quickly advanced beyond teacher and pupil to one of friendship.
"We talked a lot in the car and on calls," Blevins said. "He was a good, Christian man and we talked a lot about that We talked about family and other things together."
Blevins said Hacker's caring about people and West Virginia showed all the time.
"He was just very good with people," Blevins said. "We're all going to miss him." Cpl. B.D. Adkins of the Parkersburg detachment said even in his first days as a trooper, Hacker's caring and professionalism showed.
"I worked with him when he was a 'boot' (first year trooper) and we were at the Ravens labor problems in Wirt County,'' Adkins said. "He was always very easy to work with." Adkins said since labor disputes frequently turn into tense situations, having someone like Hacker there was a plus. "You knew you could count on him," Adkins said.
Wood County State Police dispatcher Margaret Bias, who frequently handles calls for Ritchie County officers in the evenings, said Hacker was always good to his colleagues.
"He was one of the easier troopers to work with," she said. "He was always very pleasant and easy to talk with."
Hacker, of Harrisville, was born in Barberton, Ohio, a son of James L. and Ruth Emmerick Hacker of Cedarville, Gilmer County. He was a member of the Cedar Creek Baptist Church, Cedarville, and attended the Indian Creek Baptist Church in Ritchie County.
Surviving in addition to his parents are his wife, D. Diane Riffle Hacker, two daughters, Erica D. Hacker and Julia Hacker, both of the home; four brothers, Terry L. Hacker, Robert Hacker and Kevin Hacker, all of Cedarville, and James L. Hacker of Cox's Mills; one sister, Cheryl Dobbins of Fort Wayne, Ind.; and his paternal grandmother, Nevah Hacker of Cedarville.
Services are planned for 1 p.m. Monday at the Ritchie County High School gymnasium, Harrisville, with Blevins and Pastor Mark Minney officiating. Burial will follow in the Dobbins Family Cemetery, Cedarville.
Visitation is planned for anytime after 1:30 p.m. Sunday, McCullough-Rogers Funeral Home, Pennsboro, and after 11 a.m. Monday, Ritchie County High School gymnasium, Harrisville.
Memorials preferred to go the Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Ritchie County High School, Harrisville, W.Va. 26362.