RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Wake County Sheriff’s Office, jiu-jitsu community, and countless close friends all have a void left by the killing of Wake County Sheriff K-9 Deputy Ned Byrd.
And at Lola’s Beach Bar and Restaurant a big part of the establishment is missing. Owner Larry Carter works to fill the void left behind by someone who was far more than a loyal customer.
“He was he was a big part of the Lola’s clientele, as, you know, as much as a part of the place itself,” Carter said.
There’s a memorial of flowers and photos set up at the bar for the one year anniversary of Byrd’s passing. Everday, however, Carter makes sure Byrd is still a presence at the bar.
“He was just a wonderful person and there are not many like him,” Carter said.
He always sat in the same stool. Now it’s painted in his honor with his name on it, K-9 Sasha, and his badge number. The stool was blocked off for the anniversary, but Carter said usually people are allowed to sit on it.
On the wall is a painting of a flag with a thin blue line, and after Byrd’s funeral Carter glued on coins from different police departments. There’s also a photo of K-9 Sasha staring at Deputy Byrd’s beer.
Carter said Byrd would always come and order the same thing, a macho burrito and Dos Equis Ambar without lime.
Byrd didn’t just come for a good meal, Carter said the two were close friends for about 17 years, meeting through jiu-jitsu.
“One of the greatest friends I’ve ever known, a completely selfless guy,” Carter said.
A selflessness known by all employees, keeping his phone number behind the bar so they could call him if something went wrong. That number is still there.
Feet away hangs a portrait of the deputy’s funeral procession passing by the bar he loved.
“I guess as time goes on, it gets easier to accept, but I don’t really think it ever gets easier,” Carter said.