HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Family and friends gathered in a cemetery Friday morning to remember the life of Horry County Sheriff's Lt. Randy Gerald.
His wife, Gwendolyn Gerald, said the last 16 years have been very difficult.
"Every day, he's the first thing on my mind when I wake up in the morning" she said.
On Dec. 29, 2001, Randy Gerald was on his way home from work when, according to authorities, he pulled off U.S. 701 to assistant people in what he thought was an accident.
Instead, he discovered a man with a gun arguing with a woman. The man approached Gerald's vehicle and opened fire, fatally wounding the law enforcement officer.
The shooter, Boyd Meeks, then fired several shots trying to kill the woman as she fled in another vehicle, according to authorities.
Meeks was arrested 24 hours later after a massive manhunt.
In the days that followed, Gwendolyn Gerald said she received hundreds of cards expressing condolences, with bags of them coming from the same inmates her husband guarded at work.
"All of [the inmates] said he made us feel human," Gwendolyn Gerald said.
She added that her husband loved his work and had an impact on everyone around him. A tower constructed in 2011 at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center bears his name.
Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson said it's a reminder to employees to carry themselves every day the same way Gerald did.
Gwendolyn Gerald hopes her husband continues to be remembered, "as the kind gentleman that helped somebody.
"If he could help anybody, he would," she said.
Lt. Randy Gerald was laid to rest at Mt. Rona Memorial Cemetery on North Flag Patch Road in the Loris area.
Meeks is currently serving a life sentence for Gerald's murder.