‘That’s what Joe always wanted to do was make a difference’: MBPD, community remember fallen officer 20 years later

Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 7:52 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 30, 2022 at 6:21 AM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Twenty years after the unimaginable loss of one of its own, the Myrtle Beach Police Department honored fallen officer Pfc. Joe McGarry with a memorial walk.

Officers, first responders, community members and McGarry’s family gathered on Thursday afternoon in the Market Common to honor his memory.

The police department hosted a 2.63-mile memorial walk which started at the Training Annex in Market Common. The number 263 represents McGarry’s badge number

Anita McGarry, Joe’s mother, was at the walk and recounted the last 20 years and the tough times when she said she didn’t think she would make it through the loss.

”It’s 20 years, I never thought I’d be here to do this speech because when that happened to Joe I said, ‘I can’t live without my Joe’ But here I am,” said Anita McGarry.

At the age of 28, McGarry was shot and killed in a parking lot on King’s Highway and had served with the police department for four years, leaving a lasting legacy.

During the ceremony on Thursday, retired Lt. Mike Guthinger spoke about McGarry and said all he wanted to do was to help people.

“That’s what we always talked about,” said Guthinger. “You think back to your career, and you try to figure out where I made that difference. Whether it was that little kid that was on scene and didn’t have anybody, or a mom or a dad who was having a bad day and you were just there for them and that’s what Joe always wanted to do was make a difference.”

Anita McGarry said though she didn’t know how she would continue to live without her son, she is thankful for the love and support she received from the community in her time of need.