MARION, N.C. - Officer Jason Crisp and his K-9 counterpart, Maros, both shot and killed in the line of duty Wednesday, will be honored Monday at a funeral at McDowell High School in Marion.
Troy Whisnant shot them in the woods while leading investigators on a two-hour manhunt.
Investigators were questioning him in connection with the death of his parents, who were found shot and killed in their home north of Morganton.
Crisp attended McDowell High School and grew up in the community in which he served.
Mark Garret is the interim district superintendent for McDowell County Schools.
He said the high school gymnasium is one of the largest venues in town.
Garret said the district is honored to hold such a somber event that has affected so many people in this area.
"Jason was a pillar of the community," said Roger James, a longtime Marion resident who says he knows the Crisp family. "He would help people. He went out of his way to do things for people."
Caldwell County Deputy Scott Williams, who didn't know Crisp personally, said his death has struck a nerve.
"When a tragedy like this happens, it brings everything to light and lets us realize, and our families realize, what we do every day," Williams said.
McDowell High School is preparing for as many as 3,000 people to attend and remember Crisp and Maros.
Friends of Crisp told Eyewitness News that Maros was a member of the Crisp family, and Friday, the tracking K-9 got his own procession. Maros will be buried with Crisp.
The Crisp family released a statement Friday, which read:
"Jason was a loving father, loving husband and a great friend. He was his wife's best friend and the love of her life.
"He loved the lord and was an honest Christian man who gave his life protecting his friends. He loved doing his job with a passion. The only thing he loved more than his job was his family and friends. He died a hero. However, he was a hero well before."
Crisp leaves behind his wife and two sons, ages 6 and 15.
McDowell County Schools will release students at noon Monday so people can attend Crisp's funeral.
Visitation is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. at West Court Baptist Church in Marion.
The funeral is at 2 p.m. Monday and will be open to the public.
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