The words of Rockdale County Sheriff Jeff Wigington couldn't have been more appropriate when he described this community's loss of one of its finest: "Way too young to die so soon."
Officer Brian Mahaffey turned 28 on May 7. On May 8, he and other officers from RCSO's Narcotics and Vice Unit went to serve a warrant on a suspect accused of rape, kidnapping and aggravated assault. According to reports, the suspect opened fire on the officers, killing Mahaffey. Officers returned fire, and the suspect also died.
Each of us is aware that every day our law enforcement officers are on the road is a day that tragedy can strike. It's one of those things we learn to push to the back of our minds, but it's also one of those things that these officers' loved ones can never completely forget.
Now this community grieves for a young man whose life has been taken and for a family who has lost a husband, father, son and brother. We grieve for other officers who will no doubt be profoundly affected by this shooting. And we grieve for a community that has lost not only a fine public servant and citizen, but also has lost a little more of our sense of security and safety.
Yet amid the grief we should not forget to be thankful for Mahaffey's work providing protection for this community. We should be grateful that he left friends and family who can attest to his goodness as not only a law enforcement officer, but also a father, son, brother and husband. As his mother said Monday, "He was a good, good man." Is there any higher accolade?
As Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Brian Mahaffey's life was cut short, but he planted many extraordinary seeds in this community, in the hearts of his family, his coworkers and the people he protected. He was taken from us by a senseless act of violence, but the good he did and the seeds he planted remain.
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