Slain officer remembered for tough, but caring demeanor
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A South Carolina sheriff’s deputy who was killed last week in an ambush was known for walking around with a scowl most of the time.
Despite his tough look, York County Det. Mike Doty had a passion for helping people, including addicts and teens who wanted to become police officers one day.
Thousands of people turned out for Doty’s funeral Monday at Calvary Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was killed Jan. 16 in an ambush by a domestic violence suspect who was hiding in the woods. Three other officers were wounded. They attended Doty’s funeral in wheelchairs in front of the front row, right by his American flag-draped coffin.
Doty’s twin brother, Chris, is a York County deputy, too. They were hired together 12 years ago. York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said Chris Doty wanted him to make an important point about his brother.
“Despite the fact Mike walks around with a scowl on his face 90 percent of the time, he is a really happy guy,” Tolson said.
The sheriff said Mike Doty started his department’s program to provide deputies with drugs to revive people who had overdosed on opioids because he was passionate about helping addicts. He mentored teens who wanted to be officers through the Explorers program, again doling out tough love.
“If you were Mike’s friend, he would tell you the truth, no matter how hard it was. He would hurt your feelings, but later on, you’d go — he’s right,” Tolson said.
Doty and other SWAT team members were called to the woods last week near York, South Carolina, to look for Christian McCall. He had fled into the woods after his wife called 911 to say he was beating her, authorities said.
McCall first shot York County Sgt. Randy Clinton as he and his police dog were closing in, investigators said.
A few hours later, McCall ambushed Doty, York County Sgt. Buddy Brown and York City Police Sgt. Kyle Cummings — all SWAT team members, the sheriff said last week.
McCall, 47, was also shot. His condition has not been released. Prosecutors said they plan to charge him with murder in Doty’s death, attempted murder in the other shootings and a number of other charges.
York County officers filled the rows just behind Doty’s coffin. SWAT team members in their camouflage uniforms were in front. In the further back were nearly a dozen rows of York County deputies in their gray uniform shirts and black neckties. Doty’s body would later head down the interstate into South Carolina with a police escort for a burial in Rock Hill.
Doty wanted to save, protect and help everyone he could, Carolinas Cornerstone Church Senior Pastor Barry Yates said.
“If you needed him, he ran to help you,” Yates said.