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Funeral for sheriff's sergeant slain in Atlanta

Hundreds of  law enforcement officers gathered in Atlanta Friday to mourn sheriff’s Sgt. Hoyt Teasley, who was killed in last week’s courthouse shooting.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Hundreds of uniformed law enforcement officers gathered Friday to remember sheriff’s Sgt. Hoyt Teasley, who was killed in the line of duty as he confronted the suspect in last week’s courthouse shooting.

“It’s all right to cry,” the Rev. Craig Oliver told the officers, who traveled from as far away as Minnesota and New York to mourn at Elizabeth Baptist Church in Atlanta.

A judge and a court reporter also were killed last Friday at the Fulton County courthouse and a federal agent was killed later in the day as the suspect, Brian Nichols, eluded authorities.

“It was a dark day for the city of Atlanta,” Sheriff’s Chief Chaplain Calvin Watkins said. “We pray for this family and the families of the three others that lost their lives, we pray for our city.”

Teasley, a 43-year-old married father of two, joined the sheriff’s department in 1986.

Two other victims were buried Thursday.

The courthouse closed early so employees could attend Judge Rowland Barnes’ funeral in College Park. The mourners cried and smiled as friends and family talked about the respected judge.

“He was one who ultimately gave his life on the front lines of justice,” Judge Doris Downs said, calling Barnes the jurist all judges aspired to be.

In Salisbury, N.C., about 1,000 mourners said goodbye to Immigration and Customs Agent David Wilhelm, who was found shot to death in his unfinished Atlanta home. Authorities believe Nichols killed the 40-year-old Wilhelm after going on the run.

Wilhelm’s widow, Candee, spoke of her husband’s integrity and generosity.

“Often he would make eye contact with the homeless, broken or needy individual on the corner, roll down the window and offer an encouraging word and a few dollars from his pocket,” she said.

Nichols was taken into custody Saturday morning.