BURKE COUNTY, N.C. - Some of those who knew Jason Crisp best were those who worked alongside him.
Crisp, a U.S. Forest Service officer, and his K-9, Maros, were killed while tracking a homicide suspect Wednesday in Burke County.
People in the tight-knit community of Marion said Crisp was the best of the best and always had a smile and was always willing to help.
They said he loved what he did, serving the community where he spent his life.
All over McDowell County Thursday, flags were at half-staff to honor a man friends say was dedicated to this family and to the job he loved.
“(He was a) great officer, great friend, a great father, family man. There’s nothing bad to say about him,” said friend Richelle Bailey.
Bailey knew Crisp for 15 years and said he leaves behind a wife and two sons, ages 15 and 6.
Crisp started his career at the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office in 1997.
He and his brother, Bryon Crisp, served together until 2004, when Jason Crisp joined the U.S. Forest Service.
“This office has lost a tremendous asset, and we’ve lost a very dear friend,” said McDowell County Sheriff Dudley Greene.
Greene said Jason Crisp and Maros were the best trackers around. He wasn’t surprised to learn they were the ones tracking an armed and dangerous suspect.
“It’s difficult to think about the outcome of it but it was not hard to imagine that Jason and Maros had located their man,” Green said.
The man that shot Crisp and his K-9 was Troy Whisnant, the Sheriff's Office said.
“I think he would be mortified if he knew I was calling him a hero, but in my book and in the books of all the law enforcement in this community, as well as community itself, would agree with that today,” Bailey said.
COMPLETE PAST COVERAGE: Officer, suspect among 4 killed in Burke Co.