They didn’t work for the same police agency. But two Henry County heroes killed 10 months apart had met when responding to a call, according to their widows.
Alex Maddox was days away from delivering her second son when her husband, Locust Grove Officer Chase Maddox, was shot and killed while helping Henry deputies serve a warrant in February.
After Henry Officer Michael Smith was shot Dec. 6, Alex Maddox said she spoke with Smith’s wife. That’s when Erin Smith told her the two officers had once worked together.
But after three weeks working to recover from his wounds, Michael Smith died Friday. For Alex Maddox, it was like re-living the moment she found out her own husband had died.
“It shatters you all over again,” Maddox said.
The grief has been immense, Maddox said, but the support from the community has eased the pain. The Smith family now needs that support.
“I know it’s going to be hard and they’re going to be flooded with people wanting to help,” Maddox said. “There’s not been one day that we haven’t felt that. Our community has proven that they can carry you even when you don’t think you can keep going.”
Smith, 33, was a seven-year veteran of the Henry police department. He graduated from Henry County High school in 2004 and later earned a criminal justice degree from Clayton State University. Smith was responding to a call of an irate man at a dental office when a gunshot was fired, killing the man and critically injuring the officer.
“Those who love Michael describe him as a man who was easy going, witty, and personable,” his online obituary states. “He was a loving, caring husband, father, son and brother. A spirited man that loved super heroes and died a hero to many.”
In addition to his wife, Smith is survived by a 3-year-old son, Asher, his parents and a brother.
“I can’t imagine,” Alex Maddox said. “That poor little boy, his world is probably upside down right now.”
Visitation for Smith’s family is open to the public and will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Cannon Cleveland Funeral Home, located at 2580 Ga. Hwy. 42 North in McDonough. Smith’s funeral will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Glen Haven Baptist Church, located at 345 East Lake Road in McDonough. In February, the church hosted the funeral for Chase Maddox.
Officers attending the funeral for Smith are asked to park at Union Grove Middle School, Union Grove High School and East Lake elementary, located across the street from the church, by 1 p.m. Following the service, a funeral procession will take place from the church to S.R. 155 and onto John Frank Ward Boulevard. From there, the procession will continue around the McDonough Square, exit left onto Zack Hinton Parkway, then turn right onto McGarity Road. Those wishing to line the streets around McDonough Square in honor of Smith should arrive by 2:30 p.m.
A private graveside service will be held for family and Henry County employees.
About the Author
Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com