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Mahaffey family speaks on death of Rockdale deputy

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

CONYERS -- Terry Mahaffey, father of slain Rockdale County Sheriff's Office Deputy Brian Mahaffey, gathered with his family Monday afternoon to let the public know that his son's career in law enforcement was more than just a job. "He had a family," he said.

Terry and Cindy Mahaffey and Brian's brother, Christopher, 25, held a press conference Monday. The family made a statement and answered questions concerning Brian Mahaffey, who was killed in the line of duty Saturday as he and other Narcotics and Vice Unit investigators were serving an arrest warrant to a suspect at a house off of Honey Creek Road.

"We want you to know that he was a very, very loving man ... he was a good, good man," Cindy Mahaffey said.

Chris Mahaffey described an older brother who loved to fish and work on cars.

"Brian was the best brother you could ask to have. Anytime you needed him, he was there for you. I needed him a lot. I still need him," Chris Mahaffey said. "In his lifetime, he was able to do everything he loved ... he was able to help people. Brian lived a great life."

Mahaffey leaves behind his wife, Diana, a 2-year old son, Trenton, and an almost 3-month-old daughter, Anniston.

Visitation will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. today at the First Baptist Church of Conyers, at 2100 Ga. Highway 138. The funeral will be 2 p.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church of Conyers.

"First Baptist (Church of Conyers) seats 1,500, but it's not going to hold them all," said RCSO spokeswoman Sgt. Jodi Shupe, who described the funeral with full honors and attendees expected to come from out-of-state.

RCSO has been getting through the difficult time together, said Sheriff Jeff Wigington, noting the grief counseling that has been available to everyone, especially to those deputies who were with Brian Mahaffey during the shooting.

Mahaffey was part of the RCSO Narcotics and Vice Unit and went to serve warrants at a home on Sand Hill Road Saturday afternoon. The suspect, wanted for rape, kidnapping and aggravated assault, hid in the bedroom closet and opened fire when Mahaffey and other deputies entered the residence, according to a press release.

Mahaffey was fatally wounded from a shot in the arm and another shot under his protective vest.

"It's the first time we faced something like this in our lifetime ... It's one of those things that I hoped I would never have to deal with in my career," Wigington said. "Way too young to die so soon."

Wigington said Mahaffey rose quickly in responsibilities during his five-year career.

Brian's father Terry Mahaffey talked about how much he admired his son and his work, recalling times when he would ride along with him on patrol.

"What was so amazing about him ... he could turn that off immediately," Terry said of Brian's work and home life, "and when he went in, he would look at Trenton and say 'What's up, Daddy's buddy.'"

Sherri Alderson, director of Rockdale Baptist Church's preschool, recalled when Brian would regularly bring Trenton to the weekday preschool program.

Alderson explained the morning routine of Brian dropping Trenton off at the classroom and then going out and pulling the door shut.

"But he wouldn't walk away. He would almost always be in the hallway standing at the door and watch (Trenton)," Alderson said. "They had a very amazing bond between the two of them. I admired the fact that Brian was so devoted to his son."

Alderson said Trenton had been attending the preschool since October and the school would miss his father.

"It's completely shocking that we won't see him in the hallways anymore ... We're all just devastated because he was so kind-hearted, genuine, sincere loving dad," Alderson said. "And when you see a parent that is that devoted, you just admire it. You admire seeing that kind of love and devotion to a child."

"Our family is heartbroken, but at the same time humbled by all the prayers that we have had, all the support from family and friends," Maffey's brother told the media.

The family will continue to need prayer, according to Cindy Mahaffey.

"We have two small children that's not going to have their father anymore," Cindy said.

The public is invited to send donations to the Brian Mahaffey Memorial Fund at Georgia Federal Credit Union or gfcu.org. The account was set up to benefit Brian's two children.

"We are deeply saddened at the loss of our fallen son of Rockdale County," said Rockdale County Board of Commissioners Chairman Richard Oden in a Sunday press release. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mahaffey family during this time of great tragedy. Rockdale County has lost a dedicated Deputy, public servant, role model and family man."