"We feel their pain," officer says of family of Sgt. Sondron
More than two dozen bikers held American flags outside Southside Baptist Church as mourners arrived for the funeral of Sgt. Patrick Sondron.
The Peach County sheriff’s deputy was gunned down Sunday while answering a call about a dispute between neighbors in Byron.
The motorcycle riders honor guard stood at attention as mourners arrived Wednesday morning.
The guard’s Georgia captain, Jeff Goodiel, said riders came from as far away as South Carolina.
“Patriot Guard is here to stand in honor of the sacrifice of this fallen officer and to support his family, let them know that they’re not alone, that there are many of us out here who do care,” Goodiel said. “We just simply want to be here to show how much we appreciate his life and service.”
Sondron preferred four-wheel vehicles.
His love for cars, especially Challengers,was evident by the caravan of at least a dozen Dodges followed the miles-long procession of public safety vehicles.
The church parking lot overflowed with patrol cars from across the state and beyond.
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Honor guard returned to Middle Georgia for Sondron’s funeral to show support for him and his family.
“We feel their pain. We feel the jurisdiction’s, the agency’s pain,” guard commander Lt. Damien Butler said.
A lint brush circulated through the group as they made sure their black dress uniforms were spotless.
“It’s a sad occasion. It’s never a good thing to have to go and bury one of our brothers in blue. However, we do it and we’re here to send him home with honor,” Butler said.
A photograph of the unit, standing in the pouring rain, taken by Telegraph photographer Woody Marshall at the funeral of Eastman Policeman Tim Smith, has become a favorite of law enforcement and supporters across the globe.
“I pray that they see the brotherhood. I pray that they see the unity within the law enforcement community. It doesn’t matter what jurisdiction, what county, what state we’re from. We’re here for one another.”
Other public safety workers, such as EMS and firefighters, and even tow truck truck operators joined mourners at the church.
The Warner Robins Fire Department aerial ladder held another American flag at the edge of the packed parking lot.
Bucket trucks from Flint Energies displayed a huge American flag at the corner of S. Houston Lake Road and Russell Parkway as passing motorists paused to pay tribute to the 41 year old deputy, husband and father killed in the line of duty.
“We love and support our law-enforcement,” Flint public relations specialist Jennie Lacey said. “We wanted to show our support, even if it’s just this small way.”
Workers kept the flag flying until about 1 p.m., when Sondron’s hearse passed on the way to the cemetery.
“We hope it made an impact.”