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Bravery in the line of fire

JACKSON – While being heralded as heroes, two Northampton County Sheriff’s Deputies maintained they were simply doing their duty.

Monday afternoon, Deputy Joe Magee and Deputy Corey Jackson were honored by the North Carolina General Assembly, Sheriff Wardie Vincent, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners and Governor Mike Easley.

The two men were on duty at the Northampton County Courthouse July 12 when inmate Willie Forrest became agitated after a ruling by Judge Alma Hinton. When officers went to subdue Forrest, he wrestled a weapon away from a Department of Corrections officer and began firing.

Deputy Jackson grabbed the man and forced the gun into the air while Deputy Magee fired and fatally wounded Forrest.

Monday afternoon, officials from the state of North Carolina and Northampton County were on hand to honor those men along with Vincent.

Representative Michael H. Wray (D-27th) read a proclamation from the North Carolina House of Representatives honoring both Magee and Jackson.

In his statement, Rep. Wray praised Magee and Jackson for their work in a difficult situation and said he knew it was hard, but they did what they had to do.

State Senator Robert L. Holloman (D-4th) read presentations to Magee and Jackson from Governor Mike Easley and the North Carolina Senate. In both, they were praised for their work to protect and serve the citizens of Northampton County.

&uot;You did what you had to do,&uot; Holloman said.

Commission Chairwoman Virginia D. Spruill (D-2nd) then took her turn in giving recognitions.

&uot;To protect and serve became the most important words to our citizens on July 12,&uot; Spruill said.

She then read a Certificate of Appreciation that would be awarded to the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office for their work on that day.

Vincent then gave each of the officers a plaque of dedication for their service.

&uot;It’s not often we take time out to recognize what our officers do,&uot; he said. &uot;These officers work hard and they’re willing to go above and beyond the call of duty and we should show them our appreciation.&uot;

Magee then said he spoke for both he and Jackson when he said they appreciated the honors.

&uot;Corey and I were doing our jobs according to our training, the instructions by our sheriff and our oath,&uot; he said. &uot;We hope any honor given to us will reflect on our department, on our sheriff and on our chief deputy.&uot;