CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A long bicycle journey is underway to mark a tragic anniversary for the local law enforcement community.
Ten years ago, CMPD officers Sean Clark and Jeff Shelton were killed in the line of duty. Tuesday morning, more than 100 cyclists from several police departments are riding from Charlotte to Washington D.C. to honor the fallen.
A long line of law enforcement officers hit the streets to honor those who no longer can. It’s a 500 mile journey over four days.
“Subjected to heat, weather, bugs you name it,” says CMPD Officer Katie Anderson.
This year’s annual bike ride began 10 years after two CMPD officers, Sean Clark and Jeff Shelton, made the ultimate sacrifice. It just happened to be Officer Anderson’s first day on the job.
“(I) got to work first time on Saturday and then they were both tragically killed that night,” says Officer Anderson.
Just last year, 140 officers were killed in the line of duty. However, along with the sadness there’s solidarity. Tuesday’s event included representatives from 12 different law enforcement agencies. Some like FBI Special Agent Diane Wehner are overcoming their own challenges.
“I had a stroke about a year and a half ago, so for me to overcome that and to be out here to support them; I’m riding because I can and they can’t anymore” says Agent Wehner.
“It brings a lot of comradery to the different police departments,” says Randy Jackson, a retired officer from Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The annual bike ride began with six cyclists in 2007 and is showing no signs of slowing down.
“Ten years later we have 123 officers going from Charlotte to Washington DC,” says Officer Anderson.
Once they arrive in Washington D.C., the cyclists will attend the national candlelight vigil held on every May 13th to honor the nation’s heroes.