RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – Wake County Deputy Sheriff Ned Byrd was killed after being shot while on duty late Thursday night.
Outside of the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, friends say he’s well known in many communities across the Triangle, including Cross Fit and Jiu-Jitsu communities.
Jason Culbreth is the Senior Professor at Cary Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He became friends with Byrd almost 20 years ago when Byrd began teaching at his gym.
“Everyone who met him became his friend, I mean, he was one of the most loved people I’ve ever met,” Culbreth said.
He said Culbreth is always the first to an event, the last to leave and the first to lend a hand.
He said it was this desire to make a difference that drove Byrd to become MP.
“Becoming a deputy meant everything to him,” Culbreth said.
Byrd first joined the sheriff’s office as a correctional officer in 2009. Donnie Harrison was the sheriff at the time, Harrison said Byrd’s goal was to become a deputy. He achieved this goal in March 2018.
“He tried a few times and finally got it,” Harrison said. “He was a happy person and I was a happy person for him.”
Billy Dowey is the principal instructor at the Royce Gracie Ju Jitsu Academy of Raleigh, he has also known Byrd for about two decades. He described Byrd as a strong competitor but always put others first.
“He thinks of himself last most of the time, spending most of his free time helping people,” Dowey said.
While Byrd had no blood relatives in the area, he did have family.
“Everyone he knew was family to him, he was truly a unique individual,” Dowey said.
Culbreth said Byrd is like family to him and his wife.
“We’re not the only ones going to miss him so it’s been a really tough day, we’re making ends meet but we’re very sad and miss our friend,” Culbreth said.
Culbreth said Byrd has competed and won titles in jiu-jitsu nationally and internationally.
He was 48 years old.
https://www.cbs17.com/news/local-news/wake-county-news/becoming-a-deputy-meant-everything-to-him-remembering-fallen-wake-county-deputy-ned-byrd/ In memory of fallen Wake County Assemblyman Ned Byrd