LONG COUNTY, Ga – “Initially it’s like any other unexpected death. It’s the shock of it,” Bahan Rich, with Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said. “When someone is lost like that suddenly there are protocols that most agencies have as far as dealing with the family and dealing with grief among the officers, but it changes the department.”
That’s how officers with the U.S. Marshal’s office feel right now.
“You just never know what’s going to be on the other side of a door or during a traffic stop or anywhere nowadays,” Rich said. “So, you’ve had someone you work with and that has been killed and usually in an act of violence.”
One of their own was killed right in front of them Friday morning in Long County. Patrick Carothers, 53, and his team entered Dontrell Carter’s home to serve a warrant.
Officials said Carother’s sustained two fatal gunshot wounds and his team returned fire on Carter who later died from his injuries.
Carter was wanted for attempted murder of police, domestic violence and unlawful discharge of a weapon.
This makes the seventh law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in the state this year. Two killed in Peach County, Georgia in the month of November alone.
“Here just in Georgia in the last couple of weeks you had the incident in Long County and then two deputies were killed in Peach County,” Rich said. “When that happens there’s just an outpouring of support by law enforcement agencies across the country.”
They even get support from the community around them.
“I am so sad,” Robinson said. “For somebody to do something like that I can’t believe it.”
It’s a tragedy that hits home for not only for that department, but agencies across the country.
“Any agency and the person around it are forever changed by it,” Rich said.
So they learn from it. Officers honor the fallen by utilizing the scenario of what happened to that officer to prevent it from happening in the future.
“They’re training will change,” Rich said. “The way they react to situations changes. The officers loss then becomes a part of the fabric of the unit.”
In times like this all departments seek is support from the community and other agencies. They also have internal help for officers to cope with a loss.