7 Middle Georgia officers killed on duty in 2016

Peach County sheriff’s deputy Daryl Smallwood.
Peach County sheriff’s deputy Daryl Smallwood. breaking@macon.com

Bibb sheriff’s investigator T.J. Freeman

Some say Anthony Joseph “T.J.” Freeman was born to be a law enforcement officer.

Freeman first pinned on a police badge in his hometown of Macon seven years ago, before being sworn in as a Bibb County sheriff’s deputy in the 2013 consolidation.

Sheriff David Davis called the 29-year-old husband and father of two a “deputy’s deputy” who died coming to the aid of other officers.

At about 3 a.m. on May 5, Freeman and his K-9, Bojar, were joining deputies in pursuit of a Toyota Camry.

His black Dodge Magnum was broadsided by the suspect on Montpelier Avenue at Buena Vista Drive.

The collision with Martavius Taquan Kinder’s car thrust Freeman’s small station wagon into brick porch columns of a nearby house in Unionville.

A stream of flashing lights accompanied the injured Freeman to Medical Center, Navicent Health, where he died a short time later.

The veteran drug investigator and SWAT team member was poised to become a training instructor before his death.

Bojar, who was not injured in the crash, was relieved of his duties and now lives with Freeman’s family.

Eastman police officer Tim Smith

From the time he was a little boy, Timothy Kevin “Tim” Smith wanted to be a cop just like his father.

For nearly a half-dozen years, Smith was an Eastman police officer and also patrolled the towns of Abbeville, Uvalda, Glenwood and Jacksonville.

Glenwood police officer Lewis Smith said his son worked part-time at other departments so the two could have each others’ backs.

“When he was young, all he wanted was police stuff, police toys, police badges, little police uniforms,” Lewis Smith said.

Although the elder Smith never had to shoot at a suspect in his 29-year career, his son did return fire when he was gunned down on May 13.

Tim Smith, affectionately known to some town folks as “Turtle,” was answering a call about a man with a gun acting suspiciously.

Accused shooter, Royheem Delshawn Deeds, 24, was caught two days later in Florida, hiding in the trunk of his sister’s car.

Peach County sheriff’s Sgt. Patrick Sondron

From the time he graduated high school, Patrick Sondron served his country.

The Miami native joined the U.S. Air Force right after graduation and chose law enforcement for his life’s work upon his honorable discharge.

For the last 13 years, Sondron had been defending Peach County after initially working as a police officer in Fort Valley and Byron.

The 41-year-old pilot and a part-time charter bus driver had a penchant for Dodge Challengers and loved to travel.

He was fatally wounded while responding on Nov. 6 to a scuffle between neighbors on Hardison Road.

Investigators say Ralph Stanley Elrod Jr. opened fire.

Sondron, who was shot multiple times, “was always putting others first, always reaching out to help someone else,” his widow wrote in a letter read at his funeral.

When torrents of rain flooded Louisiana, Sondron helped load relief donations.

Sheriff Terry Deese said Sondron would “give you the shirt of his back.”

Those who knew him said he was a “true ambassador for Peach County.”

Peach County deputy Daryl Smallwood

Daryl Smallwood may have been a U.S. Marine, but he exuded a much softer side.

Byron’s police chief called the 39-year-old the “biggest badge-wearing teddy bear” he’d ever met.

The father of three loved music and riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle.

After serving his country, Smallwood’s law enforcement career began as a jailer in Dooly County before he hit the streets in 2005.

After a four-year stint in Crisp County, he went to work keeping the peace in Peach County in 2015.

He was an easy-going, simple man, according to his obituary.

Crisp County’s sheriff noted Smallwood’s “kind and gentle” manner.

Investigators are trying to determine what motivated the barrage of gunfire that mortally wounded him Nov. 6.

At Smallwood’s funeral, chaplain Brian Stewart said the deputy “demonstrated a selfless and sacrificial act of love by standing in the gap between good and evil.”

U.S. marshal Pat Carothers

When Macon Regional Crimestoppers paused to remember fallen officers in 2016, U.S. marshal Pat Carothers shared the moment of silence.

Nine days later, his colleagues were mourning him.

Carothers, 53, of Flowery Branch, was the deputy commander of the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force based out of Macon.

They track the baddest of the bad for law enforcement agencies across the region.

Carothers was part of a team hunting Dontrell Montese Carter, who was wanted for domestic violence and firing at officers in Sumter County, South Carolina.

As Carothers entered a single-wide trailer near Ludowici, he was fatally shot.

John Edgar, who helps lead the task force, remembered the father of five as a great family man, employee, mentor and leader.

Americus police officer Nick Smarr

Nick Smarr died while trying to save his best friend.

After suffering a fatal gunshot wound to the head, the 25-year-old Americus police officer thought first of his buddy, Jody Smith of the Georgia Southwestern University campus police.

Friends since elementary school, Smarr and Smith went through the police academy together and were closer than family.

When Smarr received a domestic disturbance call near campus Dec. 7, Smith was there for backup.

Smarr knocked on the door, which he opened to catch sight of Miquell Lembrick exiting the back door.

Smith ran around the back of the apartment as Smarr cut through the building.

Both were shot.

Smarr fired back and then rushed to Smith, who was lying face down on the ground behind the building.

Smarr rolled his friend over and performed CPR until he lost consciousness.

He was found slumped over Smith, who was barely hanging on.

Georgia Southwestern University officer Jody Smith

Jody Smith’s obituary ended in five little words that spoke volumes about his life: “a best friend to all.”

The 25-year-old Georgia Southwestern University campus police officer, who planned to marry in the spring, died helping his friend.

Smith and Americus police officer Nick Smarr both had worked at the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office and were almost inseparable.

Friends say they tried to outdo each other, kidding around as to who was the best law enforcement officer.

Smarr kept Smith alive to be airlifted to Macon where he died the next day at Medical Center, Navicent Health.

Smith, who also worked for local sheriffs in Telfair, Sumter and Wheeler counties and on the police force in Alamo, Lumber City, Glenwood and Plains, committed one final act of public service.

His father, Johnny O. Smith, posted on Facebook that Smith’s organ donations could have saved up to seven lives.

“You are still making me proud ...” the elder Smith wrote.

Liz Fabian: 478-744-4303, @liz_lines