MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A memorial service was held Wednesday afternoon for fallen Myrtle Beach Police Officer Joseph McGarry, who died in the line of duty 19 years ago.
“Today marks the 19th anniversary that Officer Joe McGarry made the ultimate sacrifice in the protection of the citizens of Myrtle Beach,” Myrtle Beach police Lt. Mike Quinn said.
McGarry was shot and killed in 2002 as he and his partner attempted to talk with a murder suspect at a Dunkin Donuts on North Kings Highway.
McGarry was 28 years old and had served with the Myrtle Beach Police Department for four years on the street crimes unit. He is survived by his parents, and his fiancée, who he proposed to five days before he was killed.
Quinn and Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock shared kind words about McGarry with the crowd on Wednesday and then laid a wreath next to his plaque at the Officer Memorial Fountain outside the Ted C. Collins Law Enforcement Center on Oak Street.
“You always hear about a gentle giant. Joe was definitely that,” Prock said. “He’s somebody that cared about what he did. He cared about our community.”
Prock added: “The emotions are definitely the same. We’re remembering someone who was killed in the line of duty. He’s a friend, he’s a son, he’s a brother in law enforcement, somebody who was close to so many that were here.”
McGarry’s father, Joseph McGarry, who also worked in public safety, said it’s nice to see so many officers come out each year.
“It’s a real brotherhood,” he said.
Next year, Quinn said officials will commemorate the 20th anniversary of his sacrifice.