KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (WNCN) – Ryan Hayworth, the Knightdale police officer who tragically lost his life in the line of duty Sunday, was remembered by family, friends, and surrounding police forces Friday afternoon.
American flags lined the streets, along with fire trucks, police cruisers, and hundreds of cars. A procession to and from Elevation Baptist Church occurred along U.S. 64.
Hayworth was a third-generation officer who was in training Sunday morning when he was killed. His father, a retired Zebulon Police Chief, and his brother honored his service and spoke to the community who let him live his dream.
“He always wanted to be a cop. Thank you for letting him live his dream,” Adam Hayworth said. “(Even) for as little time as he had on this planet.”
Their father shared a letter, expressing “heartfelt thanks” to the Knightdale Police Department for helping train his son and reaching out and assisting in the last week of the tragic event.
Tim Hayworth wrote how honored his son would be to be remembered this way and to see the entire process Knightdale police officers, surrounding forces, and community are going through to honor him.
Additionally, the entire church fell silent upon the arrival of Cody Hagler, who was in a wheelchair. He was Hayworth’s training officer. He survived the Sunday crash. He was able to be in attendance, despite the long recovery road ahead.
Following the church service, a private burial for family and close friends was held at Gethsemane Memorial Gardens in Zebulon.
The family asked the public to respect the private service but still encouraged all who want to take part in the procession to join in. It took place from U.S. 64 Business at Leith Auto Park to the N.C. 97 light.