Officers from around North Georgia came together Wednesday, Dec. 19, to show their support for DeKalb Police Officer Edgar Flores, who was fatally shot Dec. 13 in the line of duty.
“We’re doing the best we can under these circumstances. It’s a close-knit family,” said DeKalb Police Maj. KD Johnson.
A memorial was held Wednesday at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Flowery Branch, as the man had connections to Hall and Habersham counties.
At roughly age 15, Flores began working for Jaemor Farms in Alto. Jaemor’s Drew Echols on Friday remembered Flores telling him of his dream to be a police officer.
Echols recalled he was a happy and hard worker at the farm.
Law enforcement formed a procession Dec. 15 to bring Flores’ body to Habersham County, a spectacle that brought a “renewed faith in people respecting law enforcement” for Habersham County EMS Director Chad Black.
“What really touched me out of everything was seeing the citizens from Saturday stopping on (Interstates) 85 and 285 and getting out of their car, knowing that we were bringing him home … Every intersection and overpass had not only citizens but public safety there showing his family the respect and honor that they deserve,” Black said.
The memorial was only open to members of the church, family, friends and law enforcement, but The Times spoke with several people who attended the service.
“Officer Flores got up that morning. He came to work that evening to do an honest day’s work, so when these things happen, yes, it hurts,” Johnson said.
Black said he did not know much about Flores or his Habersham roots before speaking with those in the community such as Echols.
“This kid was really everything they say about him, almost one in a million, graduating top of his class,” Black said.
The 24-year-old Flores took gunfire Dec. 13 while pursuing a man who ran from a traffic stop on Candler Road in DeKalb, according to police. He was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.
He is survived by family in Cornelia and Baldwin.
“You could tell the heart-wrenching emotion that they were giving, telling stories about his smile and their interactions with Officer Flores as a friend and a family member,” Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller said of the eulogies.
The service was a traditional mass performed in Spanish.
“(The priest’s) homily was in Spanish, but then he switched to English to speak directly to the rest of the officers and to tell them to each day ask God to go to work with them, that when they got home at night to thank him for being with them throughout the day,” said Marie Jones, who attends Prince of Peace along with Jeanne Bleecker.
With dozens of cars flashing their blue lights amid roaring motorcycle engines, a procession of law enforcement officers escorted Flores’ body back to Demorest following the funeral.
Officers from Hall, Athens-Clarke, Banks and Clayton counties joined the line of vehicles exiting the church before 1 p.m. Wednesday.
“It’s awe-inspiring to see how they look out for their own … They didn’t know him, but that could have been any one of our officers,” Miller said. “It’s heartbreaking. It’s also warming to know that so many people care about someone they didn’t even know.”