MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Myrtle Beach Police held a memorial Friday to honor Officer Joe McGarry who died in the line of duty in 2002.

Police say McGarry, along with other officers, were investigating a suspicious person just after midnight the morning of December 29, 2002. The officers asked a group of four to step outside the restaurant on North Kings Highway when one of the men pulled a .45 caliber handgun and shot Officer McGarry in the head.

Officer McGarry’s partner returned fire, shooting the killer in the leg. Luzenski Allen Cottrell was later arrested, convicted of murder and sentenced to death in April 2005, but the state Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2008 because the jury was not allowed to consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Captain Joey Crosby remembers McGarry as the type of officer that set the standard for others in the department.

“Way back in the day, he was with the kids in the neighborhood playing basketball, playing football, all the things that you see getting recognition on Facebook today.  Joe was doing it way back then, before you got recognition on social media.  So, he really set the standard.  He set the bar high for us,” said Crosby.

A second trial for Cottrell in September 2014 ended the same as the first as a jury of 12 convicted the gunman of murdering Officer McGarry and sentenced the killer to death.