Community Honors Deputy 10 Years After Shooting - WSET.com - ABC13

Community Honors Deputy 10 Years After Shooting

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Reporter: Heather Rosenbaum | Videographer: Jonathan Merryman

Chatham, VA – Thursday marks 10 years since Pittsylvania County Deputy Frankie Betterton was shot and killed while making a traffic stop. Now family, friends and co-workers are gathering to remember him.

Betterton started as an officer later in life, but those closest to him say the job gave him more satisfaction than any other. He clearly took pride in his work and went above and beyond his duties.

"It's just hard to imagine that in a few minutes your life can change so dramatically," said Mary Betterton, Frankie's wife.

Mary Betterton remembers a decade ago like it was yesterday.

"It was like I was at work one day and somebody came in and just cut my arms off. And for 10 years I've been trying to figure out how to function without my hands," she said.

Her husband stopped a car on Route 58. The driver pulled out a gun and shot him in the head.

"It will never be the same. Life is never exactly the same," said Betterton.

"That was a big blow. It was hard to overcome," said Cpt. Donald Motley from Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office.

In the 10 years since Frankie's death, Mary's dedication to improve safety at the sheriff's office lives on.

"I often think if there had been a camera in that car. What happened to him might not have happened," she said.

"After Frankie's death, Frankie's wife Mary was instrumental in getting it started that each car for the Sheriff's office would have an in car camera," said Motley.

Mary and their three children also promote National Police Week seven days that fall on the anniversary of Frankie's death.

"I think it is important that my family tries to remind people the sacrifice that these men have made," said Betterton.

But the biggest influence of Frankie's passing has been on the family....

"Somehow I think his spirit has a peace in knowing that people love him. And in some way, his sacrifice will help us to be better people," said Betterton.

The vigil is being held in Chatham Thursday at 7:30 p.m. They are expecting more than 150 community members.

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