Mourners at funeral remember slain Alabama deputy as a hero

MONTEVALLO, Ala. (AP) — Mourners remembered an Alabama sheriff’s deputy who was shot and killed by a fleeing suspect as a hero at his funeral Friday.

Bibb County Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Johnson, 32, died June 30, a day after being shot. Another deputy was shot and injured, but survived.

“It’s been said a coward dies a thousand deaths; a hero, but one. Brad Johnson was a hero,” Bibb County Sheriff Jody Wade said at the service.

Johnson, the father of two daughters, was killed ahead of his upcoming wedding, which was scheduled to be held soon in Florida, his father said.

“Hold your loved ones close, because you never know when it will be their last time to see you,” Johnson’s father, Steven Johnson, said during the service.

Johnson had joined the sheriff’s department in 2014 and became a canine handler. His K9, Bodie, was walked to the flag-draped coffin and sat by family members during the memorial service.

The deputy who was injured in the shooting, Chris Poole, sent a letter that read: “You’re my hero, brother. We didn’t deserve this. You didn’t deserve this, brother.”

Poole said he wants the opportunity to face the man who shot them and ask why he did it in court.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey ordered flags be lowered to half-staff until sunset the next day in honor of Johnson’s funeral.

Austin Hall, 26, is charged with capital murder in Johnson’s death and attempted murder in the shooting of Poole.

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