Kenneth R. Gooch Jr., of Powell’s Point, died tragically on July 19 during an effort to save three of his girlfriend’s sons who had been carried offshore in the rough ocean surf.

According to a release from the Southern Shores Police, at approximately 8:12 p.m. on July 19, Southern Shores Police were dispatched to the area of Pelican Watch just north of the Hilton Gardens Hotel/Kitty Hawk Pier for a water rescue. When officers arrived, they found that three young males, ages 19, 14 and 12, had gone swimming in the ocean from Kitty Hawk Pier and that the currents had pulled them out approximately 75 yards and in a northerly direction.

The victim, who was the boyfriend to the mother of the three boys, immediately went into the ocean in an attempt to help the 12-year-old who had been pulled even farther offshore. At about the same time, two bystanders also entered the water. Gooch was pulled out past the 12-year-old, when he disappeared from sight. The 19- and 14-year-old boys made it back to shore on their own, and the two bystanders who had also gone into the water were able to assist the 12-year-old back to shore.

Ocean rescue arrived on scene and assisted in locating the victim, who was unresponsive, and brought him to shore and immediately started performing CPR. Dare EMS personnel also assisted with CPR. A short time later, Gooch was pronounced dead. The Southern Shores Police Department sends its thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the victim and a sincere thank you for all those that assisted in this unfortunate incident.

Gooch’s obituary is posted on


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