RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A Wake County K-9 deputy, Ned Byrd, was killed after being shot in the line of duty late Thursday, according to Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker.

“It breaks my heart to have to report that a member of this office was fatally wounded…last night in the line of duty,” Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said. “We will find who’s responsible.”

Byrd, 48, of Raleigh, was shot near Battle Bridge and Auburn Knightdale roads in Raleigh just after 11 p.m. Thursday, Baker said. In a 12:30 p.m. update Friday, Baker said Byrd was outside of his vehicle at the time of the shooting and his K-9 remained inside the patrol vehicle.

As for the circumstances that led to the shooting, Baker said deputy Byrd has been patrolling the area after a series of calls came in.

He believes Byrd “had the occasion” to come down Battle Bridge Road when he came to a stop and exited the vehicle to check on some kind of “suspicious activity” at about 11:05 p.m.

“The dog was still inside the vehicle which tells us that what he got out on didn’t appear to be any sort of threat or require any sort of need for his partner,” Baker said.

From the time Byrd arrived at the location at 11:05 p.m. Thursday, two hours elapsed before he was found by another deputy at 1:06 a.m. Friday, according to Baker. There was no indication over their radio communications that deputy Byrd had been shot he also said.

Baker did say the time elapsed was not an extreme amount of time, but was “enough to check on his welfare.”

“We monitor officers all over the county and every car is equipped to track where they are,” Baker said.

Deputy Byrd was wearing his protective gear and was shot more than once, Baker added. When asked if there is any body cam or car footage that could help in finding the shooter, Baker said, “There is camera footage from his vehicle to help us.”

A search for the person who pulled the trigger remains underway more than 12 hours after the shooting.

Baker said Byrd had been a “very dedicated and committed man” who spent 13 years in service to Wake County, first as a detention officer before becoming a deputy. Sheriff Baker asked the community for prayers and patience as the sheriff’s office continues to investigate what happened.

Former Wake County Sheriff, Donnie Harrison has weighed in on the tragic loss of Byrd, who he served alongside.

“He was a detention officer for me, his goal was to be a deputy,” Harrison told CBS 17. “I allowed my detention officers, if they qualified to go out for the deputy position. He tried a couple times and finally made it. He was one happy person and I was one happy person for him. That’s what makes it so hard.”

Attorney General Josh Stein shared how concerned he is about the “violence against law enforcement officers:”

K9 deputy Ned Byrd (Wake County Sheriff’s Office)

“Early this morning, a Wake County Deputy was killed in the line of duty. This comes only 10 days after the murder of Wayne County Deputy Sgt. Matthew Fishman. Four other North Carolina deputies have been shot doing their jobs in the last three weeks alone, but are thankfully still alive. 

“I am profoundly troubled by the recent spate of violence against law enforcement officers. Officers put their lives on the line to protect our communities – we must do everything in our power to keep them safe. I thank the many public-spirited officers who are serving and protecting the people of North Carolina all over the state. 

“I send my deepest condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of those whose lives have been lost and my best wishes to those recovering. You are in our hearts.” 

Attorney General Josh Stein

Wake County deputies and Raleigh police had Battle Bridge and Auburn roads blocked near the scene.

Law enforcement is looking for the suspect and this is an active investigation.  

This is a developing story. Stay with CBS 17 for updates.