Five years ago Tuesday, a local detective was killed in the line of duty.
While it's a tough day for Allen Pearson's family and fellow deputies at the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office, many are also thinking of all the positive things Pearson did with his life and for the community.
Detective Pearson was shot and killed on April 8, 2009 during a shootout with a gunman in Grifton.
Five years later, his family, friends, and his widow say it's still very hard dealing with the loss of the man who was only 29 years old.
WITN spoke to the detective's widow, Katherine Pearson, who says Allen is her hero.
"I had a bad feeling when he went out that night. I prayed like I usually do and went back to sleep. I usually didn't sleep after he left, but I did. Then the doorbell rang," remembers Katherine. "You keep going. You can't focus on that every day or you really will go crazy. I focus on the good times we had, knowing he loved his job, knowing he went out there to protect the citizens of Lenoir County. That's what all those men did that night."
The shootout happened in a wooded area off Tick Bite Road in Grifton. Authorities say the gunman killed his girlfriend in Craven County earlier that day.
Pearson was part of the special response team that went into the woods after the gunman began firing his gun. He was wearing full body armor when he approached the gunman, who was also killed that night.
A few months after the detective's death, the Allen Pearson Foundation was formed to help keep his memory alive. It raises money for emergency services departments.