Fallen marshal escort stirs emotions
As a white hearse carried fallen U.S. marshal Patrick Carothers toward his Flowery Branch home, public safety officers paid tribute from Savannah to Buford.
Sheriff’s deputies, Georgia state troopers and firefighters lined Interstates 16 and 75 and other highways Saturday as Carothers, 53, was taken from near the coast to a funeral home in Buford.
“Law enforcement will do anything to honor a law enforcement officer who makes the ultimate sacrifice,” Monroe County Sheriff John Cary Bittick said.
Once word spread that Carothers’ body was coming through, a chain of phone calls went from county to county to mobilize officers.
Monroe County Emergency Management Agency Director Matt Perry said firetrucks were posted at I-75 overpasses at Juliette Road, Ga. 18 and Johnstonville Road.
“It’s a whole bunch of emotions that come through,” said Perry, a former Macon police officer who also is a trained paramedic. “You feel for the family and you’re proud of him. That was a heroic act. ... Then you think it could be you.”
Carothers was mortally wounded while members of his team were trying to serve an arrest warrant in Long County for Dontrell Carter, a man wanted in South Carolina for opening fire on Sumter County sheriff’s deputies trying to arrest him for domestic violence and shooting up a relative’s house in September.
Norris died of his injuries. Calmer awaits a death penalty trial in the case.
Earlier this month, two Peach County deputies were gunned down while answering a neighbors’ dispute in Byron.
Carothers’ killing further opened wounds for Perry and other law enforcement officers.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in 20 years,” Perry said Monday after other officers were shot across the country over the weekend. “They never used to ambush offices just sitting in their cars.”
Perry routinely feels the accolades and assaults of the public.
“Two days a week somebody buys my coffee, and two days a week somebody curses me out,” he said. “The public is so volatile out there.”
A contingent of law enforcement officers is expected to pay tribute to Carothers during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and during his burial Nov. 29 at Beahm’s Chapel Cemetery in Luray, Virginia, where he graduated from high school in 1982.
Carothers’ wife of 30 years and their five children are scheduled to receive friends at Flanigan Funeral Home at 4400 S. Lee St. in Buford from 4-8 p.m. Friday.
His funeral is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at the Long Forum of Greater Atlanta Christian School at 1575 Indian Trail Road in Norcross.
Carothers, a 26-year veteran of the Marshals Service, was based in the Middle District of Georgia in Macon. He had served as deputy commander of the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force for more than a year.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in memory of Carothers can be submitted to the U.S. Marshal Survivors Benefit Fund, P. O. Box 11730, Bozeman, MT 59719 or online at usmarshalsfund.org.