‘He reminded me why I do this’ | Deputy James Thomas remembered
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) -A vigil was held Thursday night to remember the life of Fulton County Sheriff Deputy James Thomas.
Police said he was killed in an altercation with 26-year-old Alton Oliver.
Oliver has since been charged with the deputy’s murder.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers from around Georgia attended the vigil for Thomas to pay their respects.
Many who knew him said he was the young spark in the Sheriff’s Office who knew he was called to protect and serve.
“He believed he was placed on this earth to police,” a deputy supervisor said.
Family members said James Thomas knew his purpose from a young age and his coworkers could tell.
“Ready to work, ready to assist, and most importantly ready to serve,” a deputy supervisor said.
They said he had a passion for the job others wanted to emulate.
“If we had ten or fifteen more people like him how greater our forces would be,” Fulton County Sheriff, Patrick Labat said.
Thomas was recruited to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office from the Milledgeville Police Department to work for Grady Detention Center because of his dedication to the law enforcement profession.
“He had goals and he wanted to be on the top,” His father said.
Family members said as a young boy he used to ride his bicycle to crime scenes to watch officers in action and to patrol his community.
Family said he even volunteered at his apartment complex to be a courtesy officer.
His passion for the job rubbed off on everyone around him.
“He reminded why I got in this in the first place,” one deputy said.
Those who served alongside him said he left behind a powerful message they will never forget.
“We can learn something from Thomas because he loved doing this and you should not be doing this if you don’t love it,” a deputy said.
“In the end deputy James Thomas Jr., radio number 1935 achieved exactly what he always wanted, to motivate and make a difference in the lives of those around him and with that there is only one thing left to say, job well done,” his supervisor said.
A member from the community surprised the family at the vigil and offered to pay for all funeral expenses.
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