Fallen officer remembered for service to communityBy Yasmine Regester, Peacemaker Staff Writer / January 4, 2024
The City of Greensboro is reeling after the weekend shooting death of Greensboro Police Officer, Sergeant Philip Dale Nix at a Sheetz gas station in Colfax on Saturday, December 30.
Three suspects were arrested and appeared in court on Tuesday, January 2. Eighteen-year-old Jamere Foster faces a first-degree murder charge and is being held without bond. Twenty-eight-year-old James Morrison and 18-year-old Z’quriah Blackwell were both charged with accessory after the fact. Blackwell received a $500,000 bond. Morrison remains in jail under a hold, as he was on pre-trial release for pending charges out of Forsyth County. He has five other convictions on his record.
Judge Tabatha Holliday was the judge overseeing the arraignment and reminded Foster that because of the severity of the case, he could also be facing the death penalty.
The evidence presented by the district attorney stated that on the evening of December 30, the three suspects pulled into a handicapped spot at the Sheetz gas station with the plan to steal beer. Blackwell stayed inside the car while Foster and Morrison went inside the store for less than a minute. Police said the two men each stole five cases of beer.
The DA’s office said Nix was off-duty and sitting at a table outside where he usually sat to drink coffee and work on his laptop. They said he had his badge and gun with him when the robbery caught his attention and he intervened. Nix walked around the car to the driver’s side and that’s when Foster fired five shots, striking Nix twice. Life-saving efforts were administered on the scene by paramedics, however, Nix succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.
Nix was a husband, father, and 23-year veteran of the Greensboro police department. He worked with GPD under many assignments including Criminal Investigations Division (CID) Detective, Patrol Corporal, Patrol Sergeant, and his most current assignment was as Supervisor of the Family Victims Unit. The unit investigates sexual assault, domestic violence, and crimes against youth. The division works with the Guilford County Family Justice Center, which just that weekend had applauded Nix and the work he had done in the city. He was also a Team Leader for the Peer Support Team for more than 12 years and was the current Assistant Team Leader of the GPD Honor Guard.
The shooting prompted the department to issue a “Blue Alert,” which was the first ever sent in North Carolina since the system was implemented in 2017, the Center for Missing Persons archives show. It was issued at 6:10 p.m. and canceled at 7:52 p.m. Police have not said how or where the suspects were captured, but that the Winston-Salem Police Department assisted in making the arrests.
All three suspects will appear in court again on April 2.
An abundance of heartfelt condolences and community support has poured out for Sgt Nix, from across the city and state, including from the Greensboro Branch of the NAACP.
“During this challenging time, the Greensboro NAACP would like to reiterate that we condemn these senseless acts of violence and understand that we all must continue to push for expansion and additional preventative measures that end gun violence. As an organization, we are committed to staying in this ﬁght and are willing to support in any way possible,” said the NAACP’s released statement.
On the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan wrote, “Today we lost one of [our] own in a senseless act of violence. Heartfelt condolences to his family & the extended GPD family. This will be felt for a long time. The impact that he has had in our community can’t be overstated. Thank you to the agencies assisting in this investigation.”
N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper posted on X that he had spoken with GPD Chief Thompson Saturday night to offer “all available state resources to catch those who killed a Greensboro police officer,” adding, “Our prayers are with the Greensboro police and family and loved ones. Every effort must be made to apprehend those responsible and bring justice in this tragic situation,” Cooper wrote.