N.C. deputy helping with funeral escort dies after heart attack

Deputy Welton Locklear was remembered as a dedicated and well-respected employee

Duty Death: Welton Locklear - [Robeson County, North Carolina]

End of Service: 01/04/2022


By Simone Jasper
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. — A sheriff's deputy helping with a funeral escort died after he had a heart attack outside a church, North Carolina officials said.

Welton Locklear went to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead on Jan. 4, the Robeson County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.

The 63-year-old is remembered as a veteran of the department who helped mentor fellow deputies.

"He was active in his community and was well respected and will be truly missed by all," Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said in a written statement. "He lived his life to the fullest and has touched many people."

Locklear, a Pembroke resident, held many roles during his nearly three decades with the sheriff's office, most recently working in its civil division. He was on duty when officials said he had a heart attack in a church parking lot.

"CPR was provided immediately by church members, some of which were first responders and a nurse," the sheriff's office said.

Locklear later died at UNC Health Southeastern medical center in Lumberton, roughly 95 miles south of Raleigh near the South Carolina border.

The Robeson County Sheriff's Office mourned the "unexpected loss" of Locklear just one day before it announced the death of another man who worked for the department.

Larry Morgan, a 74-year-old detention officer, finished his shift the morning of Jan. 5 before officials said he experienced a "medical emergency." He also went to UNC Southeastern, where he died.

Morgan started working for the department in 2008 and later took on a part-time role in 2017. He lived in Maxton, officials said.

"He was a dedicated officer and was a well respected employee of the sheriff's office," Wilkins said in another Facebook statement. "He loved his job and will be truly missed by the employees of the detention center and all sheriff's office staff."

Officials have asked for "prayers for the family, friends" and colleagues of the two men. Deputies said details about services would come at a later time.

(c)2022 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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