Carroll County and Galax communities remember fallen deputy

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CARROLL COUNTY (WSLS 10) - We're learning more about the impact Carrol County Deputy Curtis Bartlett had on the Carroll County and Galax communities.

Bartlett was killed on Thursday night while engaged in a pursuit on Route 58.

The county had its flags at half-staff on Friday in his honor.

"They think of him as a hero, and so just remember him that way," said Hillsville Elementary Principal Samantha Reed, where Bartlett was a school resource officer.

Reed said Bartlett was a friend to the children.

"Kids sometimes are intimidated by the police presence, and so they're trying to build that relationship with the kids early on, and Curtis did a great job of that. They would run up and hug him and they would just love on him, it was a great sight," said Reed.

Reed said he was in her school just last week reading to students and his loss has been difficult to explain to the children.

"They've heard what, the tragedy that happened last night, and they just know that they won't see him anymore, and it's hard at this age to understand that," said Reed.

A tragedy that Sheriff John Gardner said will take the community a long time to come to terms with.

"It's just kind of hard to believe that a good young man has passed just trying to do his job," said Gardner.

At Galax High School, where Bartlett's attended, his former coaches said he will be remembered for much more than being a superior athlete.

"He was a musician, and he was a good one. He played with my son," said football coach John Patterson.

"Going overseas and fighting for our country, and just being, even with the police force, just caring about people, wanting to protect and serve, and that's just a great honor to do that," said basketball coach Verl Brown.

But Gardner said Bartlett never let his many accomplishments change who he was.

"Just kind of a pleasure to be around for people. He would just light the room up everywhere he went," said Gardner.

That positive attitude is part of why people who knew Bartlett said it's so hard to say goodbye.

"I'm going to miss him. Everybody will," said Patterson.

Bartlett had been serving at the sheriff's office there full-time since last October, according to the sheriff's office.

The family has not yet set a date for the funeral.