He was a mischievous kid with a goofy grin and a sense of humor. And Chase Lee Maddox grew up to become a man dedicated to his family and passionate about his work in law enforcement.
Along the way, Maddox never lost his quirky humor and zest for life, his family and fellow officers said Saturday.
“People who encountered him experienced Heaven on Earth,” said the Rev. Coleton Segars, Maddox’s brother-in-law. “He just pulled people up. He just lifted the room. Our world is broken in many ways, and Chase worked to mend it.”
Hundreds attended the funeral for Maddox, a 26-year-old Locust Grove police officer killed Feb. 9 in the line of duty. Maddox was assisting two Henry County deputies serving an arrest warrant when he was shot, according to investigators. He had worked for the department for nearly five years and was the first Locust Grove officer hired immediately after graduation from police academy.
Dozens of officers and deputies from across metro Atlanta and Georgia, along with a handful from other states, paid their respects to the fallen officer by participating in a procession Saturday morning from the Locust Grove Police Department to Glen Haven Baptist Church in McDonough. Others in the heartbroken Henry County community lined the streets, some holding U.S. flags. At the intersection of Ga. 155 and East Lake Parkway, some drivers exited their vehicles to stand and watch the long line of police cars with blue lights flashing.
At the church, the main sanctuary quickly filled, and other mourners were led to other areas to watch a live-stream of the service. It was the type of sendoff the slain officer deserved, Locust Grove police Chief Jesse Patton said.
“What an honor it was for Chase Maddox and his family,” Patton said.
On June 17, 2013, a fresh-faced Maddox began his police work and quickly dedicated himself to becoming the best officer he could be, Patton said. Older officers were his mentors, and later Maddox would mentor others, serving as a field training officer.
“He accomplished more in five years that some (officers) do in an entire career,” Patton said.
Maddox dated his future wife, Alex, for about two years before asking her father for permission to marry her, Segars said. By then, Maddox was already a beloved member of the family.
“He was the answers to a father’s prayers for his daughter,” Segar said.
Maddox adored his bride and quickly assumed the role of father to Alex’s young son, Bradin. On Tuesday, four days after her husband was killed, Alex Maddox delivered a second son, Bodie. Officers lined the route from Piedmont Henry Hospital to I-75 Wednesday afternoon to escort Alex and Bodie Maddox home.
Maddox and his wife were best friends, and the officer never missed a chance to tell her, Segars said.
“Did I tell you how beautiful you are today?” Maddox would ask Alex, Segars said. “Did I say how much I love you today?”
On the morning of Feb. 9, two deputies called for assistance while attempting to serve an arrest warrant to Tierre Guthrie. Guthrie had become combative and refused to go with the deputies. Maddox arrived at the rental home, less than two miles from his police department, to help. Minutes later, Patton said, he heard the call that changed everything.
Signal 63. Officer down. Shots fired.
“My worst fears were confirmed,” Patton said.
The two deputies, Michael Corley and Ralph “Sid” Callaway, had both been shot, along with Maddox. Somehow, the deputies managed to shoot and kill Guthrie, who faced a fine for parking a commercial vehicle in his driveway. Patton drove to the shooting scene, where he was told the news.
“As we worked, we prayed, holding back tears and asking each other, ‘why?’” Patton said.
The injuries to Corley and Callaway were not life-threatening. But Maddox had been shot in the head. He died at Atlanta Medical Center.
“You are heroes,” Patton said at the funeral.
The injured deputies both attended Saturday’s service, along with Alex Maddox and her two sons. Patton addressed Maddox’s family members personally, sharing that the officer won’t soon be forgotten.
“Your father is a hero,” Patton said to the boys. “He loved you more than you’ll ever know.”
As “Amazing Grace” played on bagpipes filled the church, a color guard folded an American flag that was presented to the family.
“Rest in peace, Officer Chase Maddox,” Patton said. “We’ll take it from here.”
Outside the church, a shotgun salute honored Maddox. Inside the quiet church, a recording played of a dispatcher calling for Maddox, Officer 216. There was no response. Maddox’s watch had ended.