From AJC Archives: Dedicated deputy spent life protecting others

This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on March 12, 2005.

Sgt. Hoyt Teasley was the kind of man who always protected others.

Once, as a young boy, he took off on his bicycle to look for a missing neighbor --- and found her.

Another time, he flung himself over his sister at a family reunion when a firecracker went off.

But there was no such protection for him when, police say, Brian G. Nichols charged into his life Friday and shot him with a weapon Nichols had snatched off another Fulton County deputy.

It saddened those who knew him.

"I think of him with those two children, " former Fulton County Sheriff Jackie Barrett said of Teasley, 43, a married father of two who was pronounced dead Friday morning at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Described as quiet and good-natured, Teasley had been with the Fulton County Sheriff's Department his entire law enforcement career, according to state certification records. Since he joined the department at the end of 1986, he had taken more than 2,000 hours of training.

His East Point neighborhood was quiet Friday afternoon.

"When I heard about it, I thought, what is the world coming to when this can happen even in a courthouse, where people coming in are checked for weapons?" neighbor Jackie Martin said. There were no cars nor any sign of movement at the slain deputy's single-story, brick-front house on Dodson Drive. A large American flag flew outside.

"As a neighbor, he was a neighbor everyone would like to have next door to them, " Arthur Holmes said.

Without fail, Teasley would offer to help or to lend some of his lawn care equipment whenever he saw Holmes working in his yard.

"It's a doggone shame something like that had to happen, " Holmes said.