DECATUR, Ga. - For the third time in a week, law enforcement officers in metro Atlanta are saying goodbye to a fallen officer.
Hundreds gathered Friday afternoon at a Dekalb County church for the funeral of Henry County Officer Elgin Daniel. The 53-year-old father of three was struck and killed by a hit and run driver while helping a stranded motorist.
Friends and former co-workers remember him as a man of compassion.
"The smile was a reflection of who he is," said Dawn Murrian, who worked with Daniel at the Dekalb County Police Department. "He was straightforward and able to carry on his duties under all conditions. The smile was consistant."
During his twenty-eight years in law enforcement, Elgin Daniel touched many lives. Among the many people at his funeral were those who have known Daniel since childhood.
"I kept getting texts from friends," said childhood friend Pauline Holder. "I got home and was watching the news. I just turned around and saw his picture."
Daniel's life as a police officer includes 26 years with Dekalb County. That's where he worked with Tiffany Castillo, who remembers Daniels as a comforting presence."
"I lost my brother, and it was a very hard time for me," said Castillo "He always made sure I was okay before I went out on the road, and I'll never forget that."
Elgin Daniel retired from police work, but his passion brought him back. He was in his second year with Henry County when that passion put him in the path of a hit and run driver.
His funeral comes with an extra sting for the area's law enforcement community. Just a week ago, they said goodbye to two Atlanta officers who were killed in a helicopter crash.
"It's extremely hard to see people lose their best buddies, and they still have to serve," said Dekalb Police Chaplain Phyllis Allen. "We're seeking and asking for prayers."
Daniel leaves a wife and three children.