Friends and family gathered Tuesday night to honor a Riverdale police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty last week, according to Channel 2 Action News.
Riverdale police Maj. Greg ‘Lem’ Barney was shot four times Feb. 11 in a raid he was not directly involved in, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
An officer knocked on suspect Jerand Ross’ front door at the Villages on the River, an apartment complex in the 6600 block of Church Street. And instead of surrendering, the suspect allegedly ran out a back door, sparking a chase near an area Barney was supervising. Ross, 24, allegedly fired the shots that killed Barney.
During Tuesday’s vigil, Barney’s wife Lisa, joined by 15-year-old son Robert, thanked those who came out to the Riverdale Town Center, where the vigil was held in her husband’s honor, Channel 2 reported.
“I just want to say from the bottom of my heart, from my family, from Greg, the outpouring of love is overwhelming,” Lisa Barney told the crowd.
She said she can’t speak to everybody personally but she wanted the crowd to know the family appreciates its support.
“I thank you for the love you have shown Greg, for always having his back. Thank you (for) sharing,” Lisa Barney said, holding back tears.
Those who knew Barney, and those who didn’t, greeted his family with open arms, according to Channel 2.
Many of his comrades stood by as firefighters removed their hats for the many prayers said for his family. Flags remained at half-staff at the Riverdale Police Department, where Barney worked for 25 years.
Preliminary findings from a GBI Medical Examiner’s autopsy revealed that Barney was shot in the abdomen, arm, leg and lower back, GBI spokesman Scott Dutton said Tuesday.
“When I heard the news, I was devastated,” friend Bruce Still said.
Still, a retired Riverdale firefighter, told Channel 2 he grew up with Barney.
“He was like a brother to me, a younger brother,” Still said. “He worked on police department side, I worked on fire side. I saw him every day.”
Several of the speakers, hoping more people would live their lives like the slain officer, said they want to organize a countywide discussion about gun violence.
“If they could take a little bit of him and use it in their daily lives, we could make a huge impact,” family friend Jamila Criss said.
Friends asked the crowd to keep praying for Barney’s family.
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