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Community honors NC trooper who was hit, killed by brother during traffic stop

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. — The law enforcement community gathered Sunday to remember a state trooper who tragically lost his life in the line of duty.

In January, Trooper John Horton was responding to a traffic stop in Rutherford County. When his brother and fellow trooper James Horton arrived at the scene, James lost control of his patrol car.

The collision resulted in the death of John, as well as the driver John had detained.

The Hortons said they have worked with the Highway Patrol station in Forest Hill for more than 10 years. The community has steadfastly stood behind the family during the tragedy and offered them a generous gift.

Back the Blue North Carolina was able to give the family a check with money raised through GoFundMe.

The family said this has been a tough time for them, but they are thankful to everyone who has shown their support.

“It’s a family, and they have treated us like family, and they have come together and supported us, and come by and helped with the children. And we just really love all of them,” Ashley Horton, John’s widow, said.

Ashley Horton said she and John Horton met in high school and had six children together before he passed away.

“We talk a lot about their dad every day. He was very present in their lives, and he’s a bright spot every day. We miss him, but it’s neat to see all their memories that our kids have of him and talk about them,” Ashley said.

Ashley said she and the children are coping with the help of grief counselors. The family said their faith is sustaining them during this difficult time.

“We’re sticking together, and we’re trusting God to get us through this. And we’re just really thankful that we have each other,” Ashley Horton said.

Channel 9′s Glenn Counts said he had the chance to speak with John’s brother James, who the family refers to as Nick. He told Counts that he was taking one day at a time and wouldn’t wish what he was going through on anyone.

“I’m just taking it day by day. Hour by hour. Minute by minute. Some days are OK. Some days are not so good. But we’re gonna get through it,” James Horton said.

Horton said it helps to know that one day he will be reunited with his brother again.

“Knowing where John is, knowing that I’ll get to see him again one day ... that’s the only peace and comfort that I can find in it,” said James.

James Horton said when he is able to he will come back to the highway patrol, possibly in a different capacity, even if it’s working on trucking issues.

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