On September 16, 1992, Deputy Paul H. Futrell became the first Hertford County Deputy Sheriff to be killed in the line of duty as a shot fired in anger following a domestic dispute in Cofield, NC claimed the life of the 36-year-old peace officer.
Deputy Futrell was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Military Policeman. He was a husband and father of two, a son and a daughter. After leaving the Marine Corps he eventually attended Halifax Community College where he received his certification in Basic Law Enforcement Training. A short time after graduating from the police academy he began his career as a deputy sheriff with the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office, where he served for nearly two years until his untimely death at the age of 36.
On September 16, 1992 at approximately 1:00 pm, Deputy Futrell was conducting a follow-up investigation on a complaint that had been received from the Department of Social Services the previous day. The follow-up consisted of escorting a female to her parent’s residence, Mr. and Mrs. Nehemia Pope, to pick up her small child, who had been residing with the Popes for some time. After retrieving the child, deputy Futrell, along with the mother and the child, returned to deputy Futrell’s patrol vehicle. As deputy Futrell was getting into his car, Nehemiah Pope came out of the house and walked over to his pick-up truck where he reached inside and grabbed a 7mm rifle. At that time deputy Futrell crouched behind his open car door, drew his weapon and began to give commands to Pope ordering him to drop the gun. In that instant, Pope quickly raised his rifle and fired one shot, shooting Futrell squarely in the face, killing him instantly.
Nehemia Pope, Jr., who was 47 at the time of the shooting, was arrested shortly thereafter without incident by then deputy sheriff Sgt. Rodney Pennington and Winton Police Chief Chris Williams. Pope was indicted for first degree murder.