CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mount Holly Police Officer Tyler Herndon was laid to rest Tuesday, just two days after what would have been his 26th birthday.
The community is grieving the law enforcement officer, considered a hero, who paid the ultimate price while fighting crime last week. Herndon was shot and killed just after 3:30 a.m. Friday when he responded to a breaking and entering call in Gaston County.
The suspect and officers exchanged gunfire. Herndon was struck and later died at the hospital.
Friends, family and the community said their final goodbyes to Herndon during services on Tuesday. Herndon was laid to rest at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church in his hometown of Kings Mountain.
A public viewing was held for Herndon from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church in his hometown of Kings Mountain.
“During this service, the body of Officer Tyler Herndon will lie in honor,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say.
Only 10 people at a time were allowed to enter the church during the viewing due to COVID-19 restrictions. All attendees were required to wear a mask during the viewing and funeral service.
A motorcade arrived to pay respects to Herndon around 11:15 a.m.
After the funeral, a graveside ceremony was held at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Kings Mountain.
“I’m a better man because of Tyler Herndon, the Mt. Holly Police Department is better because of Tyler Herndon. We’re a better community,” said Mount Holly Police Chief, Don Roper, at the funeral.
Roper said Herndon was a model officer. Just 25 years old, but Roper said he made a lasting impact on the department and the Mount Holly community.
“You’ll see some stories about him helping people. You’ll see stores about him with a group of kids at school,” Roper said. “He’ll be walking through the parking lot with his coworkers. Greeting people. Not doing anything, just greeting people.”
Many are remembering Tyler as a man with goodness in his heart. His family pastor said his legacy will not be forgotten. He said that’s something his parents should be proud of.
“When the name of your son is mentioned, you lift up your head. For he has honored you in a good life and a good career and honored you in ministering to other and you are proud. That is his gift. It is a precious gift he has given to you,” said Pastor Chip Sloan during the service.
They both ask that the communities keep the Herndon family and the Mount Holly Police department in your thoughts as they continue to grieve.
According to Herndon’s obituary with Harris Funeral Home, he was a 2017 graduate of UNC Charlotte where he majored in Criminal Justice.
“Tyler always wanted to be in law enforcement and loved his job,” Herndon’s obituary read.
Since Herndon’s death, the community in Mount Holly, Kings Mountain and across the area have expressed their support.
There is a growing vigil with flowers, signs, balloons and gifts on his patrol car outside of the Mount Holly police station.
Two vigils were held for Herndon – in Mount Holly and King Mountain – on Sunday.
The accused shooter, 24-year-old Joshua Tyler Funk, has been charged with murder. He was scheduled to make his first court appearance on Monday, but was indicted that morning. Gaston County court officials tell WBTV he will make his first appearance on Friday.
Mount Holly Police say ”The Tyler Herndon Memorial Fund” has been created at SouthState Bank. Cash or check donations can be dropped off at any Gaston County location (Mount Holly, Belmont, Gastonia, Dallas, Stanley).
All money collected will be given to the Herndon family in honor of their son.