Updated: Monday, 26 Jul 2010, 5:56 PM CDT
Published : Monday, 26 Jul 2010, 10:32 AM CDT
LUCEDALE, Miss. (WALA) - George County Sheriff Garry Welford was laid to rest Monday. Welford was killed in the line of duty last week when officers said he was hit by a truck during a police chase. FOX10 News attended the services.
Family, friends and hundreds of law enforcement officers gathered at Shady Grove Baptist Church to pay last respects to Sheriff Welford. While loved ones grieved inside, others listened to the service outside.
Welford was described as a courageous man who died putting the needs of others first. A man who spent his days doing what he loved.
"It's a sad day. It's a sad day for law enforcement. We lost a fine sheriff and he was an asset to the community here. He was everybody's friend," Albert Santacruz, Director of Mississippi Highway Patrol said.
"Total comradery. When one bleeds, we all bleed. Anytime a fellow officer is stricken down in the line of the duty, not even in the line of duty, it hurts everybody especially someone like Garry. Garry was a good man and a good sheriff," Mike Bullock with the Mississippi Highway Patrol added.
The 63-year-old was said to be a fair, fun loving man with deep integrity.
"He was a great person. He was a prankster, made everybody happy, always joking about something," Santacruz said.
"He's just always been a very fine Christian man who was as good as his word," Annie Ruth Pipkins-Thigpen added.
"He was just a good man, a family man and honest. He had been more than a sheriff to a lot of people he had been a friend in time of need, he was there and will be missed badly," said Friend Bobby Merritt.
Draped in an American flag, Welford's casket was escorted by motorcycles to the cemetery as officers lined the streets.
After the 21 gun salute and prayer, family members were consoled. Many said they're taking comfort in the sheriff's faith, and the legacy he left behind.
"I knew his heart was right with the Lord. He set the example and if they can carry on that then that's going to be a positive thing for everybody," Juanita Hollinghad, a family friend said.
The family is coping the best they can. As for justice, folks said they're confident it will be served.
Christopher Lee Baxter and 18-year-old driver Brandy Nicole Williams are in an undisclosed jail. Each is charged with capital murder.