CONCORD, N.C. — The community continues to mourn the loss of Concord Police Officer Jason Shuping, the 25-year-old killed in the line of duty Wednesday night. The memorial outside of the police department is continuing to grow.
"Heartbreaking. Heartbreaking. It really is just heartbreaking,” said Betty Smith, who laid flowers outside of the police department Friday. “He got up that morning put his uniform on, didn't realize he was not coming on. And it’s sad. He was only doing his duty, only doing his job."
Shuping, 23-year-old Officer Kaleb Robinson and an agent with North Carolina's Alcohol Law Enforcement division were responding to a carjacking on Wednesday night when they located the suspect at the Sonic restaurant on Gateway Lane. As they approached the suspect, identified as 29-year-old Jeremy Maurice Daniels, he began shooting.
Both Shuping and Robinson were hit by gunfire. When backup arrived, there was a shootout where Daniels was shot and killed.
On Friday night, a candlelight vigil held outside the Concord Police Department. Among those in attendance: Officer Kaleb Robinson, who was shot and injured in Wednesday's shooting.
"Officer Jason Shuping was an outstanding human being and a public servant to not only his community but his hometown," said Lt. Sydney McGhee, who knew Shuping well, as she started to cry.
"Let's keep the legacy of this brave young man. Let's keep it alive and in our hearts and in our community," said Lonnie Clouse, the department's Chaplain."
The next few days, weeks and months will continue to be challenging -- however, knowing each of you are behind us, makes these steps at least
approachable," added McGhee.
A police officer's job can be unimaginable.
“Those who come to my town to serve and protect us, they are family,” said James Jackson, a Concord resident.
That love and appreciation is on display at the memorial, where other police officers are also hanging their department badges as a sign of unity. The first in line to participate in this gesture: the Mount Holly Police Department, where earlier this week they laid 25-year-old Officer Tyler Herndon to rest after he was shot and killed in the line of duty.
“It's devastating what happened. It's unfortunate and it seems like its commonplace now and it just really needs to end,” said James Corcoran.
Shuping was a 2014 graduate of East Rowan High School in Salisbury.
“He always had that perpetual smile on his face. What I learned very quickly is he was a very, very hard worker,” said Laurie Wyrick. She spent years getting to know Shuping as a member of the track team at East Rowan High School.
The marquee outside of the school says he is a “mustang gone too soon.”
“He was that guy that just made a coach’s job easier, a teacher’s job easier. You didn't have to worry about Jason because Jason was going to do the right thing,” she said.
Even as a teenager, he was always a team player and looking to help others. Wyrick isn’t surprised he became a police officer. She is devastated his life was taken this way.
“I know he was trying to make the most and the best out of whatever was happening that night at make it better,” said Wyrick.
She says Officer Kaleb Robinson also graduated from East Rowan High School. Classmates who became colleagues, both doing their jobs, protecting the community.
“You're not promised anything. And your life can change in a second. We need to cherish relationships and just do the best we can do. But it’s just really sad,” she said.
Those looking to make a donation can send a check made out to FOP Lodge 64 to:
FOP Lodge 64
P.O. Box 5302
Concord, NC 28027.
Donations can also be send on Venmo to @NCFOP64.