He survived nearly two days after being shot in the head. But Tuesday afternoon, Peach County Deputy Daryl Smallwood died from his injuries after allegedly being ambushed in the line of duty.
Smallwood and Sgt. Patrick Michael Sondron were responding to a dispute between neighbors Sunday afternoon when both were shot, according to police. Sondron, 41, died after arriving at the county hospital. Smallwood, critically injured, was on life support until his death.
A prayer vigil was planned Tuesday night for the deputy’s families at North Peach Park in Byron. It was supposed to offer hope for Smallwood’s recovery, but instead allowed those in the central Georgia community a chance to grieve.
Late Monday, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation charged the alleged shooter, Ralph Stanley Elrod, with murder and aggravated assault charges. An additional murder charge is expected to be filed following Smallwood’s death.
Smallwood previously worked as a deputy with the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office, where deputies gathered Sunday night to hold hands and pray for his recovery. The divorced father was engaged.
Sondron served in the U.S. Air Force and loved to travel, but his legacy was to serve others.
For 13 years, he worked for the Peach County Sheriff’s Office, where he was a sergeant assigned to the patrol division and a member of the SWAT team. On Sunday, he responded to his final call. At a home near Byron, about 15 miles south of Macon, a 57-year-old man angry with neighbors pulled a gun from his waistband and fired at Sondron and a fellow deputy.
Sondron was married with three children and loved to travel, according to his online obituary. In his spare time, he loved to travel, was a pilot and drove charter buses. Sondron also loved cars, including Dodge Challengers, and was a die cast collector.
Visitation for Sondron will be Wednesday from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Southside Baptist Church in Warner Robins. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday at the church. Interment will follow at Magnolia Park Cemetery.
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