Hero Cop Returns to Duty
The Carthage police officer who put a stop to a rampage that left eight people dead at a local nursing home is returning to duty Tuesday.
Carthage Police Corporal Justin Garner was injured by a shotgun blast after encountering Kenneth Stewart in the hallways of Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center March 29 in Carthage. Stewart allegedly had shot and killed seven residents and one employee of Pinelake on that Sunday morning before Garner exchanged gunfire with Stewart in a hallway of the facility. Stewart was hit in the chest by Garner's shot, while Garner was hit by three pellets from the shotgun that Stewart fired in the exchange. Stewart is recovering from his wound, and is facing eight counts of murder. He is currently being held in Central Prison.
Garner had two of the three pellets removed in surgery, and had not been on active duty since the incidence. A spokesperson for the Carthage Police Department confirmed that Garner would be returning to active duty Tuesday.
Garner has been honored in numerous ways since he single-handedly stopped the killing spree in the Carthage nursing home. He appeared on the Today show, along with Carthage Police Chief Chris McKenzie, where he was interviewed by Matt Lauer. He has been recognized on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, and was presented a plaque by a resident of Pinelake during a memorial ceremony held recently.
Garner and Jerry Avant, a Pinelake nurse who died in the March 29 shooting, will both be honored during graduation ceremonies at Sandhills Community College Saturday, May 16. Both men are graduates of SCC.
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