GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - The community is mourning after a Mount Holly police officer was fatally shot near a Gaston County car wash Friday morning.
Tyler Avery Herndon, 25, was one of several officers responding to a breaking and entering call around 3:30 a.m. off Beatty Drive. When officers encountered the suspect, later identified as 24-year-old Joshua Tyler Funk, several shots were fired. Herndon was shot and taken to the hospital, where he died several hours later.
Funk was shot and treated for minor injuries. He was released from the hospital and charged with murder. No other officers were hurt in the shooting.
Herndon had been an officer with the Mount Holly Police Department for less than two years.
“It is with heavy hearts that we share that our brother Officer Tyler Herndon passed away as a result of injuries sustained from this morning’s shooting,” the Mount Holly Police Department posted on Facebook. “Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
Just before 1 p.m., a police escort traveled down I-85 to transport officer Herndon to the Medical Examiner’s office.
Dozens of people stopped by the Mount Holly Police Department to drop off food, water and flowers to show support for the department. Members of the community said it’s a time to support each other in the midst of tragedy.
“It’s a small knit community. These officers are our lifeline. If we can’t help them in their time of need, who will,” said Joann Lanier, who’s seen dropping off flowers in the above video.
Dozens of people brought in food and drinks around lunchtime. Others continued to drop off flowers well into the afternoon.
“This is sad. Very sad,” said one restaurant owner who dropped off dozens of plates.
Along with community members, small businesses also stepping in to show their support to the MHPD. Amberjack in Cramerton is giving away free meals to any police officer for the rest of the month. She says it’s the least she can do.
“Some small way to support our law enforcement officers. They leave their homes every day, they put their lives at risk. We just want to show we appreciate them and what they do for us,” said the owner Melody Karras.
Jack Beagles in downtown Mount Holly is also donating 10% of their profits through this weekend to the Herndon family.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all involved,” CMPD tweeted of the situation.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has ordered all North Carolina flags at state facilities to be lowered to half-staff in honor of slain Mount Holly Officer Tyler Herndon.
“Our prayers are with family and friends of Mount Holly Police Officer Tyler Herndon who was killed in the line of duty this morning protecting the community he loved. I spoke with Tyler’s parents and Chief Roper to offer our support and deepest condolences,” Cooper said.
Gastonia Police posted “Our thoughts and prayers are with Mount Holly Police.”
The Town of Stanley released a statement, too, offering their condolences and support.
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 9 issued a statement, saying, “We are sadden to hear the news from our Gaston County brethren. Our condolences go out to the Mount Holly Police Department. We are keeping Officer Tyler Herndon’s family and friends in our thoughts and prayers. It is situations like these that highlight the dangers officers face every day across our country.”
The Shelby Police Department wrote, “We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the men and women of the Mt. Holly Police Department and the Herndon family for their loss today. Our prayers will be with you all throughout this journey.”
Herndon was an alumnus of UNC Charlotte, having earned a degree in criminal justice and criminology in 2017.
“The University community is saddened to learn of his passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends,” representatives from UNC Charlotte said.
The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting. The Internal Affairs Bureau with the Mount Holly Police Department will conduct a separate but parallel investigation to determine whether department policies and procedures were followed during the incident, police say, which is standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting.
The three other officers involved were placed on administrative leave, which is protocol.