Law enforcement from other states join to honor Trooper John Horton

Zach Prelutsky covers the funeral for fallen North Carolina state trooper John Horton.
Updated: Jan. 7, 2022 at 10:36 AM EST
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FOREST CITY, N.C. (FOX Carolina) - From the procession, to the caisson, to the funeral services, Trooper John Horton was sent off with honor.

Trooper John Horton and Dusty Beck died in a tragic crash. John’s brother, Trooper James Horton, lost control of his vehicle as he responded to a traffic stop.

Law enforcement from all over North Carolina as well as other states, like Pennsylvania and Tennessee, joined with John’s loved ones and community to pay their respects.

When we asked Lt. Kevin Kimbrough with Tennessee Highway Patrol what motivated them to come out, here’s what he said.

“To show North Carolina Highway Patrol that we love them. We’re here. We support them. And we’ve got their back,” Kimbrough said.

When the news broke, it hurt Kimbrough personally.

“It was devastating,” Kimbrough said, “First and foremost, as you get to know about the trooper and his family, and how large and extensive his family was. It choked me up.”

At 11 a.m. the processional left Harrelson Funeral Home to Isothermal Community College. As the line came in, there were more police, deputies, troopers, and other first responders than one could count. Some hung flags on their units to recognize him.

Visitors stood out in the cold for hours as visitation began at 2 p.m. The line formed at least a half-hour before the event. Some visitors were likely turned away as there was a hard cut-off at 4:30 p.m. to move to the next part of the services.

Then, the caisson circled the lake at ICC. Visitors were able to stand outside and watch in a moment of silence. A somber spirit was in the air.

“When you see it it’s unique. It’s something special to have the body being pulled by this specially made wagon, by these specially trained horses. I mean it’s just something of beauty,” said F/Sgt. Chris Knox with NCSHP.

A joint venture between NCSHP and the North Carolina Troopers Association, the caisson is one of only a couple of its kind in the nation.

Made up entirely of members of the state’s Highway Patrol, it was an extra emotional day for those in that unit.

‘”Emotions for this, and for someone that wears the same uniform as you and carries the same duty in protecting our state that you do. It’s going to be different for them. I think to say it wouldn’t would be a lie. They know this is a different one, carrying their own brother,” Knox explained.

Great numbers turned out in support. They pulled out all the stops to remember Trooper John Horton.

“As long as we have crowds like this, and we have that comradery, and we have that cohesiveness between law enforcement, and we stick together and have each others’ back; our brothers here in NC can recover,” said Kimbrough.

Kimbrough says they didn’t let the eight to nine inches of snow yesterday stop them from showing up.

“Regardless of this patch saying Tennessee, we come to North Carolina,” Kimbrough said, “We provide mutual aid to North Carolina. Not only do we do that in an official capacity, and a law enforcement capacity, in a mutual aid-type of capacity; we do that here for the mutual respect for the trooper and the unfortunate situation that has happened here.”

Dusty Beck’s arrangements have also been made. There will be a graveside service, in Columbus, at Ridings Cemetery this Sunday at 2:45 p.m. The visitation will be at The Wood Mortuary from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.