After Georgia police officer Antwan Toney was shot and killed in the line of duty in last month, condolences and expressions of sympathy began to pour in from across the community, but one heartfelt letter came from an unlikely place —the county jail.
Gwinnett County Sherriff Butch Conway received a letter penned by inmates in the county jail who wanted to express their sympathies to Toney's family. The 30-year-old officer was killed Oct. 20 while responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle. Police said he was shot by Tafahree Maynard, who allegedly began firing through the closed windows of the vehicle, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
"This was a tragic incident that never should have occurred," the inmates would write in the letter posted on Facebook. "And though law enforcement and criminals may be considered opposites, the intrinsic value of a human life transcends those boundaries by far."
They went on to write that regardless of the color uniform, "right is right and wrong is wrong" and said they wanted to express their gratitude to all the police officers, first responders and military personnel.
"Your service and your sacrifice make the world a better place for all," they wrote.
The sheriff's office said they made the decision to share the surprising letter from the inmates because it represented a "kind gesture" that honored Toney and the "incredible impact he's left on our community," according to a post on Facebook.
"We're not including their names to protect their privacy, but we're deeply appreciative of this act of kindness from these men," they wrote. "We think that Officer Toney would also be appreciative of their actions and we hope you are, too."
The death shook the community and has resulted in a tremendous outpouring of support for Toney, his family and his fellow officers. On the day of his memorial service, members of the community lined the streets for miles to pay their respects to officer, many of whom stood outside for hours.
"These meaningful acts humbled every law enforcement officer who witnessed them," the sheriff's office said.
[Photo: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office]
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