Community pays respects to Salisbury police officer who died of COVID-19

SALISBURY, N.C. — A local police department is mourning the death of one of its own.

Sgt. Shane Karriker of the Salisbury Police Department died after contracting COVID-19, Gov. Roy Cooper said during a news conference on Thursday.

Karriker, 48, became a Salisbury police officer in 2000 and was promoted to sergeant in 2018, according to the Salisbury Post.

“We will forever miss his friendship and commitment to the PD,” the department said in social media posts.

In one of the comments, Capt. Melonie Thompson asked people to pray for Karriker’s family.

“We will forever miss you, big guy,” Thompson said.

A procession was held Monday.

Two motorcycle officers led the hearse from the Somerset Funeral Home.

Strangers stopped what they were doing along the streets of Salisbury to pay their respects for a man who dedicated much of his career to the city.

The procession made its way past the police department where his co-workers paused and saluted Karriker.

His remains were then driven to Trinity Church lined with officers and emergency workers.

State data updated Thursday show 310 deaths in Rowan County attributed to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

“For anyone who has lost a loved one to COVID-19, including Sgt. Karriker’s family, we hold you in our prayers as you mourn,” Cooper said during his news conference in which he announced higher cash incentives for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Cooper said state officials are worried about the spread of COVID-19 picking up among people who are unvaccinated.

“We worry about counties and just areas of the state where a lot of people remain unvaccinated,” Cooper said. “There is a potential for more virus and more sickness and death.”

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said the potential for the virus to spread and cause death among the unvaccinated is one reason why officials announced the potential for anyone who’s vaccinated to receive $1 million or, for those 12-17, $125,000 in scholarship money.

(WATCH BELOW: Moderna files for authorization to use coronavirus vaccine in adolescents)