Marion County deputy remembered on 2nd anniversary of his death

Pee Dee

MARION COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Friday marked two years since Marion County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Mike Latu was killed in a car accident while responding to a call.

“A lot of the officers that are working with us now didn’t know Mike,” said Tammy Erwin, a spokesperson for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. “So, part of our mission is to get them to know Mike, even though he isn’t here.”

Latu was remembered by his coworkers at the office’s annual Christmas luncheon.

Erwin said the staff works to keep his memory alive throughout the year, but especially as they near the anniversary of his death.

The office’s Facebook page has shared posts and memories of Latu every day this week.

“Today may be the anniversary of the day we lost him physically, but he is with us every day,” Erwin said.

Erwin recalled the last conversation she had with him the day of the accident — a friendly argument about the Shop with a Cop program.

“He had one little boy in particular that he wanted to make sure made the list,” she said. “I’d given him some paperwork and he was like, ‘You didn’t give me everything,’ and we did some bantering. He was just so funny.”

She said his death was difficult to comprehend.

“It took a long time for that new normal to sink in,” Erwin said. “I think sometimes, we still look for him.”

Latu started as a 911 dispatcher in 2012 before joining the sheriff’s office in 2015. He was recognized as both deputy and patrolman of the year in 2018.

Erwin said he was dedicated to his job and joked that he would work every day of the week if it was allowed. She said he was the first deputy the office had lost since the ’80s.

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