‘He was not just the sheriff, he was a friend’

Law enforcement community mourns loss

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The Harnett County law enforcement community was mourning the loss of one of its own with the announcement a former sheriff died Wednesday.

Former Harnett County Sheriff Larry Knott died at the age of 75 late Wednesday evening at an area hospital after a long illness.

Knott served Harnett County in several positions, including chief deputy of the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office before moving to the top job.

Knott came to law enforcement after a successful career in the tobacco business in his northwest Harnett area community.

He lived in the community most of his life and was an active member of Rawl’s Baptist Church.

Knott was trained by current Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats, riding with him as a partner for a short period.

Knott then later hired Coats back into the department after the current sheriff had left the department.

According to a proclamation signed by then Harnett County Commissioner Teddy Byrd and his fellow board members in January of 2003, Knott was sheriff from 1994 to 2002. He served with the county a total of 24 years.

Coats said he knew Knott for most of the last 50 years. He said he lost more than a co-worker.

“I worked with him, but he was a friend,” Coats said. “He was a compassionate man. He was not just the sheriff, he was a friend to everyone who knew him.”

Coats said Knott was an icon in the community.

“He was big in the Shriners organization and he was big in his church,” Coats said. “There is no telling how much barbecue he cooked for the Shriners.”

Knott’s arrangements are being handled by O’Quinn Peebles Phillips funeral home in Lillington.

A celebration of life ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. Monday at Rawls Baptist Church.

Burial will follow in Rawls Baptist Church Cemetery. Visitation will be from 2 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

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