'Forever a Hero': Bibb County Deputy Brad Johnson Laid to Rest After Line-of-Duty Death
Bibb County Deputy Brad Johnson, 32, laying at rest.
A Bibb County sheriff's deputy was laid to rest Friday, about one week after his death in the line of duty.
Deputy Brad Johnson, 32, was pronounced dead June 30, a day after being shot by a fleeing suspect in rural Bibb County. Deputy Chris Poole, 30, was also injured in the shooting but is recovering.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey ordered flags in the state to fly at half-staff as a tribute to Johnson on the day of his funeral.
"Deputy Johnson made the ultimate sacrifice in an effort to keep his community safe. He will forever be remembered as a hero and will remain in our prayers," Ivey said in a statement.
A visitation and memorial service, attended by the public and law enforcement officers from around the state, was held at the University of Montevallo Student Activity Center, followed by a procession to Centerville for Johnson's private burial.
Hundreds of people lined the roads to pay their respects to Johnson as the procession made its way to Centreville.
Mourners at the memorial service remembered Johnson as a hero.
“It’s been said a coward dies a thousand deaths: a hero, but one. Brad Johnson was a hero,” Bibb County Sheriff Jody Wade said at the service.
Johnson, the father of two daughters, was killed ahead of his upcoming wedding, which was scheduled to be held soon in Florida, his father said.
“Hold your loved ones close, because you never know when it will be their last time to see you,” Johnson’s father, Steven Johnson, said during the service.
Johnson had joined the sheriff’s department in 2014 and became a canine handler. His K-9, Bodie, was walked to the flag-draped coffin and sat by family members during the memorial service.
Poole, the deputy who was injured in the shooting, sent a letter that read: “You’re my hero, brother. We didn’t deserve this. You didn’t deserve this, brother.”
Poole said he wants the opportunity to face the man who shot them and ask why he did it in court.
The suspect in the shooting, Austin Hall, a convicted felon with a lengthy criminal history, faces capital murder and attempted murder charges. (The Tuscaloosa News)