In September 2001, our nation was reeling from the devastation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was all anyone was talking about across the country. But at the same time, the Clayton community was struggling with its own horrible tragedy.
Sixteen years ago, on September 14, 2001, the Clayton Police Department lost a dedicated officer. Lt. Monica Carey was just 36 years old, a 10-year veteran of law enforcement, a wife and mother of a young boy and girl. Lt. Carey headed out to help arrest a suspected heroin dealer in an undercover drug buy in the parking lot of Bojangles on US 70. In an attempt to flee, the suspect backed over Lt. Carey with his car, dragging and killing her. Officers would later shoot and kill the suspect. $1,000 worth of heroin was found in his car.
Thursday, on the anniversary of her death, Clayton Police, led by Police Chief Blair Myhand, held a memorial service to remember Monica, her service and her sacrifice in the line of duty. It began at 9:00am – marking the same hour Carey’s life and service ended 16 years ago.
Her son Justin followed in his mother’s footsteps and is now a deputy with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department.
The Clayton Police Department has an Officer Memorial inside their station, a tribute to the three Clayton officers killed on in the line of duty. Their names are carved in granite – Monica Carey, Ray Gilmore and Charles Lee. It’s not how these officers died which made them heroes, it’s how they lived.
New Clayton Police Chief Blair Myhand plans to hold similar ceremonies for these officers each year on the anniversary of their “end of duty.”