Death Reminds Troopers of Peril
By The Associated Press



The shooting death of a West Virginia state trooper in Ritchie County was a chilling reminder to colleagues that danger is always present in their occupation.

Trooper Larry G. Hacker was shot Thursday night while investigating a dispute between neighbors near Pullman. He died early Friday morning.

Dennis Ferguson, 67, of Pullman is charged with first-degree murder in Hacker's death and is being held without bond.

Hacker, 34, of Harrisville was the first state police officer to die in the line of duty since 1989.

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," said Cpl. J.A. Jeffries of the Charles Town detachment.

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.

He was to be buried today in Cedarville. Gilmer County, following a funeral service at Ritchie County High School in Harrisville. Among those scheduled to attend the service were Gov. Gaston Caperton and Cal. Thorn Kirk, superintendent of the state police.

Kirk said hundreds of police officers also were expected to attend.

On Saturday, the state Senate passed a resolution to honor Hacker, saying he died "in a senseless act of violence" and expressing lawmakers' condolences to troopers and family members.