'He has touched so many lives': Knightdale community honors fallen police officer

KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hundreds joined together to honor the life of fallen Knightdale Police officer Ryan Hayworth.

They gathered for a candlelight vigil Wednesday night at Knightdale Station Park.

"In his 23 years, he has touched so many lives, he has touched so many families," said Jessica Day, mayor of Knightdale. "I'm proud to see how our community and town has rallied around them to support them."

Hayworth's training officer Cody Hagler came as well.



Hagler got out of the hospital earlier in the day. He was also seriously injured when the pair were out investigating a wreck Sunday morning on I-540 and a car came crashing into their cruiser.

Hayworth's parents also attended. His father is the retired chief in Zebulon.



Others like Knightdale Police Chief Lawrence Capps, told of Hayworth's service to his church community as well as to his country.

Hayworth served in the Army National Guard immediately after graduating from high school.

"He performed the duties of counselor, guardian, minister and peacemaker as well as anyone I've ever seen," Capps said.



Nick Wisely came to honor his friend. He and Ryan went to high school together.

He said it hadn't hit him until the vigil Wednesday.

"It's just completely unbelievable," Nick said. "It's pretty amazing to see so many people in support of one my close friends."

The State Highway Patrol said it would have more updates on the investigation in the coming days.

There's a visitation for friends and family at Elevation Baptist Church Thursday. The funeral is Friday in Zebulon.
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