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Concord City Council wants to name bridge for fallen officer, Rowan native

CONCORD — The Concord City Council on Thursday passed a resolution supporting an application to rename a bridge in town in honor of an officer killed on duty in December.

Jason Shuping, a Rowan County native and resident, was shot and killed on duty when responding to a carjacking on Dec. 16. The suspect was killed in the ensuing shootout and another officer was wounded as well. Shuping was 25.

The city responded to his death with a laundry list of memorial efforts, including a $100,000 fallen officer memorial, establishment of a nonprofit police foundation, magnets memorializing Shuping displayed on police vehicles and an effort to rename the bridge over I-85 at Bruton Smith Boulevard in honor of Shuping.

Renaming the bridge falls under the purview of the N.C. Department of Transportation. The city filed an application requesting the bridge be named, and the next step in the process of petitioning NCDOT was for the council to support the renaming.

Concord Mayor Bill Dusch said he is confident in the process moving forward and the entire board supported the renaming effort. Dusch noted Shuping was the first officer the city had lost in the line of duty in 120 years.

Concord Chief of Police Gary Gacek said he is supportive of the city’s responses to Shuping’s death. The city also allowed a debrief for every officer to hear the details of what happened on Dec. 16.

“At the police department, we don’t need a bridge to remember him, but for many in the community it is going to be a good visual reminder,” Gacek said. “The entire Concord community lost a police officer.”

Gacek said no one in the department has gotten over Shuping’s death and he is not sure if the department will return to the same sense of normalcy it had before. A group was planning to travel to Washington D.C. for Law Enforcement Memorial day in May, but the trip had to be postponed until October. The same day it was pushed back, a department captain started soliciting more people to go.

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