6 Years Later, Slain Officer Honored with Memorial Garden


by Morgan Fogarty
Bio | Email | Follow: @morganfogarty by Photographer Chris Keimig

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. - Hundreds gathered Sunday at Blythe Landing in Huntersville for the Officer Sean Clark Memorial Garden dedication.  There were police displays, children's activities and of course, memories of Officer Clark.  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Major Jeff Estes told the crowd, "He entered our service with a solid resolution that good will overcome evil. That life is worth protecting and that our society requires heroes daily."

Clark's widow, Sherry C. Lancaster, said, "You will never know how much it means to me to have this place for my boys," as her two sons looked on.  Clark's father, Robert, says Sean was there, too, in spirit.  "He's probably playing over there on the swing set right now. He'd like it. No doubt about it," says the elder Clark.

The timing of the opening of the park is particularly poignant, as the work and sacrifices of local police departments are on the minds of many Americans.

"In light of the (bombings) in Boston and the way they community rallied support for the nothing less than heroic efforts of the officers there, the timeliness of dedication of this park to Sean's memory, who did the same, I think is quite appropriate," says Estes.

"It's a tribute to every officer, every where," says Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Lieutenant Brian Sanders.  He was one of many who pushed to make the park happen.  While red tape and finances may have slowed the progress, police support never wavered.  "I would simply ask who can come help today and we would get 20-30 officers out here," says Sanders.

And now, the park is open.  A place to play and a place to remember that life and liberty requires heroes every day.  Estes says, "For us, we feel like this is one small thing we can do to help remember that."

Officer Clark and Officer Jeff Shelton were killed in a shooting in east Charlotte in 2007.  Officer Shelton's memorial park, which opened in 2007, is in Locust, NC.

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