Sunday, March 9, 2014
Law enforcement officials - and many others - from across Georgetown County and the state gathered Friday to remember Police Maj. Spencer Guerry who was gunned down while on what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop on March 7, 1994.
He died two days later at the Medical University of South Carolina.
“Twenty years ago. Some days it seems like it happened yesterday. And other times it seems like a hundred years ago,” said Sally Guerry, the widow.
She was accompanied by her two sons, Ryan and James - now ages 28 and 30 - and their spouses.
“Spencer was a good man, a good husband and a good father,” Ms. Guerry said. She said he was very dedicated to both his family and job.
During his 15-year law enforcement career, Guerry worked his way up through the ranks from patrol officer, uniform patrol corporal, staff services sergeant, administration/support lieutenant, Criminal Investigations Division and Uniform Patrol Division captain, and was promoted to deputy chief of police in February 1990.
Georgetown Police Officer Shelley Brantley said he was with his family and their friend David Hodge when they heard the news about the shooting.
“We were window shopping on Front Street. David was working for SCE&G and heard it on his radio,” Brantley recalled.
Police Captain Nelson Brown said it was a Wednesday evening when the shooting occurred and he was in church when he received the call with the news.
“We lost a great friend and mentor. He set the standard we try to follow,” Brown said.
Georgetown City Councilwoman Carol Jayroe lived in the same neighborhood - Maryville Pines - as the Guerry family.
“My mother heard it on the police scanner,” Jayroe recalled. She said she went to the Guerry’s home to see what she could do for the family.
When asked how Guerry’s death changed Georgetown, Jayroe said “I hope it has given us more respect for law enforcement who are on and off duty. Although, they are never really off duty”
Spencer Guerry’s mother, Jean Guerry, said she was touched by the turnout at Friday’s breakfast to honor her son.
“It’s amazing that these people come to honor someone who died in the line of duty 20 years ago,” she said. “It shows they feel strongly about him and about how he died.”
Police Chaplain Rob Dewey, who met with the Guerry family at the hospital the night of the shooting has been to the annual breakfasts every year.
“Most of us did not know each other before this tragic event. Coming back here every year is hard but not as hard as it is for the family. It helps when we come together every year. It helps to feel the love of the community and our Lord Jesus,” Dewey said.
After the breakfast, a wreath was placed at the Spencer Guerry memorial on Front Street as a bagpipe group from Myrtle Beach played Amazing Grace.
The shooting that took Guerry’s life occurred at Georgetown Car Wash on Highmarket Street after he pulled a car over that was driven by Georgetown native David Hill.
In 1995, Hill was found guilty of Guerry’s murder and sentenced to death. He was executed in March 2004.