ATHENS, Ga. -- As far as the eye could see, a line of flashing blue lights led the way as police officers and sheriff's deputies from all over Georgia paid tribute to Athens-Clarke County Senior Police Officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian.
Christian's wife carried their young son with their daughter on her other side, as fellow members of the color guard gently carried his flag-draped casket into Athens' Classic Center, where every available seat was filled with friends, family members and fellow officers.
PHOTOS: Farewell to Officer Christian
His heartbroken police chief reminisced about his first interview with Buddy Christian and why he wanted to be an police officer. "He emphatically stated he wanted to grow as a person, take care of his family and make a difference in his community," Chief Joseph Lumpkin said.
Earlier in the week, the Athens-Clarke County police chief remembered Christian as "the epitome of a good person, just a great person. He loved to help people. He had a sincere heart of helping and assisting citizens."
"He loved it so much," Christian's father Bud Christian said.
On Tuesday, Christian and several other officers were investigating a kidnapping and carjacking. They pulled over 33-year old-Jamie Hood. Investigators said Hood shot and wounded Athens Clarke County Officer Tony Howard then walked up to Officer Christian's patrol car and shot him at point blank range. After a four day manhunt and hours long standoff Hood surrendered on live television Friday night.
Sunday afternoon, residents from Athens and beyond lined carried flags and shed tears as the road from the Classic Center to Evergreen Memorial Park.
Christian's immediate brotherhood has promised to look after his widow and small children.
Athens-Clarke County Police Department is asking all who want to donate to the family to drop donations off at any branch of Athens First Bank. Donations may also be mailed to Athens First Bank, 150 West Hancock Avenue, Athens, GA 30601.