Officers from across the nation attend funeral of slain correctional officer

Posted at 11:55 PM, Oct 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-22 23:56:17-04

PASQUOTANK CO., N.C.- “We will rise above heartache, we will rise above the despair, we will rise above the hurt, sadness, we will rise above it," says Bishop David Hill.

Justin Smith, 35, died at Pasquotank Correctional Institute on Oct. 12.

Emotions were exposed as loved ones laid 35-year-old Justin James Smith to rest.

"It's heart-wrenching to see the family hurting, to see our DPS family hurting. It really gets you in the heart," says Pamela Walker, Department of Public Safety.

It's almost been two weeks since Smith along with Veronica Skinner Darden were killed in an attempted prisoner escape at Pasquotank Correctional Institution.

Friends who worked with Smith say he was a man full of passion. They described him as a great friend who had an even greater appetite for life.

With half-staffed flags, bagpipes and tears,  hundreds of family, friends, correctional officers and honor guards both near and far came out to pay their respects.

"It's been an incredibly difficult time for everybody, but it's also been uplifting to see all the people come together. There's people who have come all across the state to be here to provide support and there's people who have come from other states," says Walker.

"We're going to finish up our investigation. We've already obtained charges for four of the individuals. We will continue to investigate. We're going back to the grand jury on the 30th," says Sheriff Randy Cartwright, Pasquotank County.

Friends of Smith who spoke during the service say he was an absolute joy to be around and that he will truly be missed and always remembered.


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