Justin Garner, the "Standing Hero" of Carthage

March 29, 2009 is a date to remember in Carthage, North Carolina. It was a warm sunny Sunday. The sky was clear in this Southern town of 2,000 people and the lone on-duty police officer, 25-year-old Justin Garner was observing traffic trickle toward church.

At about 10:00 a.m., the Moore County 911 dispatcher disturbed the Norman Rockwell-like setting with a report, “Shot’s fired at 801 Pinehurst Avenue.”

Justin, a four and a half year veteran of the Carthage Police Department steered his Dodge Charger patrol car toward the Pine Lake Health and Rehab Center for the elderly. His mind had not wrapped itself as of yet around the possibility that someone might be shooting inside the facility. Calls of this type were usually hunters mistakenly getting too close to town. When he rolled into the lot at the facility he a red Ford Ranger caught his attention. It had the driver’s side window shot out and he knew something more serious was in store for him on this call than disoriented hunters.

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