Deputy Sheriff Rick Rhyne
Moore County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina
End of Watch: Thursday, December 8, 2011
Tour of Duty: 37 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: December 8, 2011
Weapon Used: Handgun
Suspect Info: Committed suicide
Agency Contact Information
Sheriff Lane Carter
Moore County Sheriff’s Office
101 Dowd Road
Carthage, NC 28327
Phone: (910) 947-2931
Deputy Sheriff Rick Rhyne was shot and killed after responding to investigate reports of trespassing at a home on Morrison Bridge Road.
While questioning two brothers he learned that one of them had a warrant for outstanding child support. As he attempted to place the man under arrest the man fatally shot him with a handgun. The suspect then committed suicide.
Deputy Rhyne had served with the Moore County Sheriff’s Office for four years and had a total of 37 years in law enforcement. He had previously served with the Pinehurst Police Department and as police chief of the Foxfire Police Department. He is survived by his wife, son, and two grandchildren.
Rick Rhyne: Affable lawman’s slaying stuns, saddens Moore County community
By Greg Barnes
Rick Rhyne loved law enforcement so much that he couldn’t leave it alone.
For 25 years, he had worked as an officer and then as police chief in Foxfire Village, a small retirement community in Moore County. He was so beloved there that when he stepped down in 2007, the village retired his badge and his service pistol.
But Rhyne couldn’t put law enforcement behind him.
Shortly after his retirement, the friendly cop with a big heart became a Moore County deputy.
Rhyne, 58, was killed Thursday in the line of duty. Sheriff Lane Carter said Martin Abel Poynter, a 33-year-old Iraq war veteran, shot Rhyne and then took his own life.
Rhyne’s death has shaken little Foxfire Village. When Rhyne went to work there, the village claimed about 500 residents. It’s double that now, but almost everyone still knew Rhyne. He made a point of it.
When someone moved in, Rhyne stopped at their home to introduce himself and offer his services. That’s what he did with Karl Bernet, more than 25 years ago. They had been good friends ever since.
"He was one of the most compassionate men I ever ran into," Bernet said. "He was always beyond the call of duty at all times for you."
Helen Munro said her late husband, former Village Councilman Carl Munro, used to golf with Rhyne some Sunday mornings.
"Rick watched out for the residents," she said. "If someone couldn’t get their television to work, he came and took care of it. If you had a problem with anything, he would come and help you out.
"He was just an all-around nice guy. Always smiling. I’m trying to think if I ever saw him mad. I don’t think so."
Every Labor Day weekend, Rhyne and his wife, Wanda, organized a fishing derby for the village’s children. Every year, Munro said, 40 or more kids would turn out, and every year, Rhyne would provide 20 or 30 poles for children who didn’t have their own.
"There was one for every kid who was there," she said. "I don’t remember any kids having to share poles."
Jack Arnold golfed and ate breakfast with Rhyne on Sunday mornings more than anyone. Arnold recalled a time a few years ago when a snowstorm knocked out power to part of the village.
Despite treacherous driving, Rhyne made three trips to Carthage to get cots and blankets, then rounded up elderly residents and gave them temporary shelter at the clubhouse.
"It was dangerous," Arnold said. "He put his life on the line to help people.
"Rick was a great fellow. He went out of his way. Great human being. I am terribly saddened by it."
Mike Campbell, now Foxfire’s police chief, probably knew Rhyne better than anyone outside of his family. He credits Rhyne with making his career.
They met years ago, when Campbell was an 18-year-old maintenance worker at Foxfire Resort & Golf Club and Rhyne was the village police chief who saw promise in the teenager.
They met almost daily at the club’s coffee shop. Campbell liked the way Rhyne carried himself.
"He didn’t come across as a rough-nosed cop," Campbell said. "He talked to you about day-to-day things. The more I got to know him, the more my curiosity of becoming a cop grew."
Rhyne encouraged Campbell to seek a criminal-justice degree at Sandhills Community College. Later, he took him on as his only officer. In the end, Campbell wound up replacing Rhyne as chief.
"It’s a terrible loss for this community and his family," Campbell said. "We are definitely grieving right now. I’m speechless."
Campbell said he didn’t know why Rhyne decided to become a deputy after retiring as Foxfire’s chief. He said he asked him once, but never really got a straight answer.
"It was in his blood," Campbell said. "He couldn’t give it up. He loved getting in that car and meeting people."