Bridge To Be Renamed For Slain Deputy Sheriff

Johnston County Commissioners (back row) and members of the Clendon Paul West Sr. family (front row) stand with former Sheriff Freddie Narron (second from right) and current Sheriff Steve Bizzell (far right) following an announcement Monday the Market Street Bridge in Downtown Smithfield will be renamed for Deputy West who was killed in the line of duty in 1995.

The process to name a bridge for a slain Johnston County law enforcement officer began Monday when Johnston County Commissioners formally adopted a resolution asking the Neuse River Bridge on Market Street in Smithfield be renamed the Deputy Clendon Paul West Sr. Memorial Bridge.

Deputy West was killed on September 11, 1995 and Lt. Ronald Medlin was seriously wounded at the West Johnson Mobile Home Park off Jackson-King Road near the Harnett County line.

A 27-year-old father, Deputy West was shot twice and suffered multiple blunt force injuries. Jose Rosado (aka Angel Guevara) was convicted of first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and sentenced to death in the slaying.

Family members of Clendon Paul West Sr. had asked local officials for several years to rename a bridge in honor of the fallen officer, including a request four years ago with the Town of Smithfield.

On Monday, commissioners adopted a resolution supporting the renaming. Town of Smithfield officials are expected to adopt a similiar resolution on Tuesday night.  The resolutions will be delivered to the NC Department of Transportation in Raleigh for approval, which is considered only a formality. 

Clendon-Paul-West-Sr.-FIFreddie Narron was sheriff when Deputy West was shot and killed in 1995. He appeared alongside current Sheriff Steve Bizzell and West’s family Monday. 

“Thank you, thank you, thank you for this resolution,” Sheriff Narron said.  He described Deputy West as an outstanding young officer and a great person.

Sheriff Bizzell said the signs for the bridge will cost about $2,000. Instead of asking the West family to raise funds for the cost, Bizzell said he would find the money in his budget to pay for the cost. 

“All gave some, some gave all. This family gave all,” Bizzell said.  “Thank you for all the work to make this a reality.”

Family members of the fallen officers expressed their gratitude for officials not forgetting Deputy West.

West was a graduate of Smithfield Selma High School. He joined the US Marine Corps and after being honorably discharged returned to Johnston County where he served as a jailor before becoming a deputy. 

If approved by the NC DOT, the Market Street Bridge will officially be known as the Deputy Clendon Paul West Sr. Memorial Bridge.