LUMBERTON — The Fayetteville police officer who is heading the drive to name a bridge for a Lumberton police officer who was shot and killed says he now has the community and local government support needed to get that recognition.
Detective Stig Larson, who lives in Lumberton, said that along with his goal of more than 2,000 signatures on a petition, he has resolutions supporting the bridge being named for Jeremiah Goodson, from both the Lumberton City Council and the Robeson County Board of Commissioners. He said as soon as he receives a copy of the county board resolution — signed by Chairman Noah Woods — he will submit his information to the state Department of Transportation, the agency that will have to approve the bridge name.
As of early Friday, the online petition — found at www.ipetitions.com/widget/view/491885 — had drawn 2,167 signatures since Oct. 3. Larson said he also has 400 handwritten signatures on petitions circulated by members of Goodson’s family.
“Everything has been going great,” Larson said. “I haven’t been pushing the petitions hard since I reached my goal of 2,000 signatures, but every signature I can get is great. I need every one I can get.”
Larson said he hopes the “overwhelming” support he has received from the community will persuade the state DOT to name the bridge — being built as part of the reconfiguration of Exit 22, the intersection of Interstate 95 and U.S. 301 — the “Master Police Officer Jeremiah M. Goodson Memorial Bridge.”
“I started this initiative because I thought that this would be an honorable tribute for the Goodson family that would keep Jeremiah’s sacrifice in the public eye for years to come,” Larson told members of the county Board of Commissioners on Monday. “I travel to Fayetteville on I-95 and pass the Sgt. Edward Lowry-Deputy David Hathcock Memorial Bridge sign at Exit 41 in Fayetteville, which is how I thought of the idea. Those law enforcement officials were killed in the line of duty on I-95 in 1997.”
Larson said he has had strong support from members of Goodson’s family and Lumberton police Chief Mike McNeill.
“It’s a great idea,” McNeill said. “He deserves it for his making the ultimate sacrifice. He put his life on the line.”
Marybeth Bridges, who signed the petition on Oct. 4, wrote: “Please let this bridge be a reminder to this community, the family, friends and travelers that J. Goodson was truly a hero that will forever be in our hearts and minds.”
Another signer of the petition, Jessica Ward, wrote: “He gave his all to us and he deserves our all, which includes a place his wife and two children can be proud of and know that what Jeremiah did for Lumberton will never be forgotten.”
Goodson was killed July 17 while attempting to serve a warrant for the arrest of 27-year-old Marques Brown, who is accused of shooting Goodson multiple times as he approached Brown’s vehicle at the Xpress Depot at 5030 Fayetteville Road. Brown is charged with first-degree murder and is being held in jail without bail.
Goodson was a member of the Lumberton Police Department for about six years. He served as a member of the gang unit and worked at Lumberton High School as a school resource officer.
Frank West, the DOT division traffic engineer based in Fayetteville, said Wednesday that as soon as Larson submits his information requesting the naming of the bridge, West’s office will review it. The information will then be sent to DOT in Raleigh for final review and approval.
West could not say exactly how long the process would take.
“I know we have named memorial bridges in the past,” he said. “It takes time, but we try to move the process along as quickly as possible.
“I want it done before construction is finished so that there is no confusion later on if someone comes forward with a request for another name.”