Shooting of Deputy Has Many in Shock
Many Moore County residents are still trying to come to grips with an incident near Lobelia in which an Iraq War veteran shot and killed a sheriff’s deputy, then committed suicide.
Deputy Rick Rhyne, 58, was shot and killed by Martin Abel Poynter Thursday afternoon, when Rhyne attempted to arrest Poynter on a child support warrant after responding to a trespassing call at a home at 753 Morrison Bridge Road in the extreme eastern part of the county.
After shooting Rhyne, Poynter, 33, shot and killed himself. Rhyne was pronounced dead at the FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital emergency room shortly after the shooting. He was the first Moore County deputy ever to be killed in the line of duty.
The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday in Owens Auditorium at Sandhills Community College. Burial will be at Taylor Memorial Baptist Church in Roseland.
A memorial account has been set up for Rhyne through First Bank. Dona-tions to the Deputy Rick Rhyne Memorial Account can be dropped off in person at any First Bank location, or can be mailed to First Bank, P.O. Box 125, Carthage, NC 28327.
Neighbors who live on Morrison Bridge Road remained in shock over the events that happened early Thursday afternoon.
“We are still trying to cope,” said one woman, who declined to give her name. “Things like this don’t happen in this neighborhood. Until yesterday I’d never been afraid to be alone in my home.”
The woman said she had been neighbors with Poynter for nearly a decade, but said he moved away to Missouri to live with family 12 to 18 months ago. He and his ex-wife have at least three children.
She remembered him as a “polite, quiet and well-mannered” neighbor. She said she saw him recently and didn’t recognize him at first.
“He looked like he had been homeless and traveling a long time,” she said. “He was disheveled, unkempt.”
A second woman, who also asked that her name not be used, said she arrived home from picking up her children from school to find numerous emergency vehicles in the area.
“I saw a lot of cops and ambulances,” she said. “That’s it, just a lot of vehicles.”
She said she didn’t know what had happened until a few hours later, when she was watching the news on television.
“We are still pretty shocked,” she said.
About noon Thursday, the Moore County Sheriff’s Office received a call about two men trespassing at the home on Morrison Bridge Road. Neighbors said Poynter had been at the home in the past. It was believed to be abandoned.
When Rhyne arrived, he approached the two men and identified them, according to the Moore County Sheriff’s Office. He called back to the office by radio and asked if there were any outstanding warrants on either man. He was advised by another deputy that there was an outstanding child support warrant for Poynter.
Rhyne attempted to arrest Poynter, and then Poynter pulled out a pistol and shot him. He then shot himself.
The second man, who was described as Poynter’s brother, witnessed the shooting, but is not a suspect, law- enforcement officials said.
Sheriff Lane Carter said Poynter was an Iraq War veteran with a history of mental problems.
First responders administered CPR to Rhyne at the scene before he was transported to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital by ambulance with a police escort.
‘Great Police Officer’
Kenneth Mackey, Crain’s Creek fire chief, said his department responded to the residence and began care for both patients.
“This really hits home with everybody,” he said. “It is a very hard thing to take.”
Mackey said counseling has been made available to members of his department who responded.
He said losing a member of law enforcement, a fireman or an emergency responder is doubly difficult because the professions are so closely tied together.
“This is really the first time we’ve had something like this out here, and I hope it’s the last,” he said.
Carter called Rhyne a “wonderful man” and a “great police officer.”
“He served his community well,” Carter said of Rhyne during a press conference Thursday evening.
Rhyne’s death also hit hard in Foxfire Village, where he was police chief for 26 years before joining the Sheriff’s Office on April 28, 2007.
Current Foxfire Chief Mike Campbell said residents in the village are “definitely still grieving.”
“I’ve gone out and personally spoken with several of the longtime residents who knew him,” Campbell said. “There are a lot of them who are not taking the news too good.”
Rhyne started his career in law enforcement with the Pine-hurst Police Department before coming to Foxfire. He retired there in 2006. He is survived by a wife, a son and two grandchildren.
Rhyne hired Campbell in 2001. He called Rhyne a mentor.
“Working with him was like working with a family member,” Campbell said.
Campbell said Rhyne was an avid motorcycle rider and described him as a firm and fair man who “absolutely loved law enforcement.”
“He could not stay out of a police car,” Campbell said.
Rhyne knew the residents of Foxfire by name and was a kind, personable man who always was willing to help anyone, Campbell said.
“Residents called him if they couldn’t get their VCR to work or if they needed to have something carried into their home,” Campbell said. “He was always very outgoing and the first person to jump over and help.”
Campbell said he was monitoring the police radio Thursday when the call came in about the trespassing report. He recognized Rhyne’s badge number on the call and listened intently as things turned tragic.
“I was unfortunately listening to the whole situation,” Campbell said. “I knew it went bad when I heard somebody else call for an ambulance. I was dumbfounded. I felt helpless.”
Contact Tom Embrey at tembrey@thepilot.
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