Hundreds gather for funeral of Sgt. Matthew Fishman who was killed in the line of duty

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ByCindy Bae via WTVD logo
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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Final farewells for a Wayne County deputy who was killed in the line of duty last Monday will take place today.

WAYNE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Final farewells for a Wayne County deputy who was killed in the line of duty took place Tuesday.

Sergeant Matthew Fishman was one of three deputies shot last Monday in Dudley while serving involuntary commitment papers.

The 38-year-old died the following day. The other two deputies were injured, but are now recovering at home.

Fishman's body made its way from ECU Medical Center in Greenville to his final resting place in Dudley on August 5.

The funeral service for Sgt. Fishman was Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. at the University of Mount Olive.

Fishman's father, Dave Fishman, said his son, who was the middle of three, died what he's dreamt of doing since he was young.

"Matthew did what he did because he genuinely cares for others," Dave Fishman said. "He is passionate about his job being a Wayne county sheriff's deputy. He is passionate about his family, he is passionate about his faith."

Fishman said his son was going to help paint the fence at an older woman's house with his family before he was called to serve involuntary commitment papers on Monday when he was fatally shot.

"Matthew was a compassionate soul," Dave Fishman said. "As a boy, even into his late teens, and early 20s, he'd find strays and want to bring them home. He did not like to see people suffer, so he'd like to reach out and help."

Fishman served at the Wayne County Sheriff's Office for more than a decade.

"Even getting into law enforcement was not easy," Dave Fishman said. "He took the basic law enforcement training at Wayne Community College. He did well and he passed. However his early driving record was not a desirable attribute. He didn't give up though. He got to know some of the people on the police department at Mount Olive. He did some ride-alongs and again, he proved himself to be more than capable."

Dave Fishman, who's a pastor in Wayne County, said how it still seems like a bad dream he's hoping to wake up from.

"I shared in a post last week of going through the worst 24 hours of my life," Dave Fishman said. "Today makes this the worst week of my life."

Hundreds of people gathered at the University of Mount Olive on Tuesday to say goodbye to Fishman. More than 900 people watched the livestream of the memorial service.

Meanwhile, several people claimed a spot earlier across Wayne Memorial Park to prepare for the procession, including Mar-Mac resident Jennifer McCutchon, who watched with her kids while thinking of her own experience.

"He was part of the first responders that saved me almost 9 years ago," McCutchon said. "He might not have remembered me but, whenever he would come into the store I worked at, he would ask how I was doing."

Fishman leaves behind a wife and two children, ages 10 and 14.

The "clip-clop" sound echoed in the still air on U.S. 117 North as Fishman's casket was carried on a caisson. A riderless horse was at the end, which symbolizes a fallen leader looking back on his troops for the last time.

"If you sit here and you watch this and you know what's going on, if you don't cry, you don't have a heart," Wayne County resident Terry Ward said.

Sheriff Larry Pierce said Fishman, who was "affectionately known as "Fish," was loved and respected by those who served with him.

Multiple agencies, including Boston Police, came to be a part of the procession on Tuesday.

"Today, following the last call, I'm ordering the permanent retirement of 5242 in honor of Sgt. Matthew Ryan Fishman," Sheriff Pierce said.

The memorial service ended with the sound of Fishman's last call.