Dekalb County police officer Edgar Flores' funeral procession through Hall CountyOfficers lead the funeral procession for Edgar Flores, a Dekalb County police officer killed in the line of duty, on Saturday, Dec. 15. The procession went through Hall County on its way to Habersham County, Flores' hometown.
Carina Trejo was one of the many people who lined Ga. 365 Saturday afternoon as a funeral procession for Edgar Flores made its way from DeKalb County to Habersham County, passing the J.A. Walters Family YMCA in Hall County around 11:15 a.m.
Traffic was stopped on the southbound side of Ga. 365 as the procession for the DeKalb County police officer journeyed through Hall. Some drivers, despite the cold weather and cloudy skies, got out of their cars to pay their respects to Flores, 24, who took gunfire Thursday while pursuing a man who ran from a traffic stop on Candler Road in DeKalb, according to police. He was shot multiple times.
Flores was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
He was at the beginning of his law enforcement career, hired by the police department on May 8, 2017, and a graduate of the Nov. 4, 2017, police academy class, the county said Friday morning in a statement.
But Trejo knew Flores long before that. They had been friends for about seven years, she said, after the funeral procession had passed and the crowd began to disperse.
“He was just an amazing person and he was always happy,” said Trejo, 27, of Gillsville. “It was just contagious. He was so humble, he loved to help out people, he was always there when I needed him. I’m just going to miss him a lot.”
She said Flores and her brother started playing soccer together years ago, which is how she met him. Since then, they remained friends and had a “special bond.”
She recalled the time Flores invited her to a haunted house — the first she’d ever been too — with some other friends.
“I’m like, ‘Edgar, get me out of here,’” Trejo said. “And he’s like, ‘Calm down, calm down. I’m going to get you out of here … I promise.’ I can just here him like it was yesterday.”
Just like it was her first haunted house experience years ago, Saturday was her first experience standing on the side of the road for a law enforcement funeral procession. She said it wouldn’t be her last, though. She plans to attend others, even if she doesn’t know the family.
“I know he has a lot of support and a lot of people that loved him and cared about him and I’m grateful for all these people that came out here,” Trejo said. “Today it was him, a friend. And tomorrow, who knows what other family will need someone out here.”
Although four other officers in Georgia have been killed in the line of duty this year, Trejo said this one “impacted” her and “hit more to home” because of their friendship.
“I wasn’t looking forward to this day because it hurts a lot,” Trejo said.
Not everyone who lined the road Saturday knew Flores.
Jacqueline Johns was there with her sons Kaden, 10, and Cason, 7, as well as her daughter Mary Farris, 18.
Cason Johns ran back-and-forth in the grass, flying a black-and-white American flag with a blue stripe instead of the traditional red-white-and-blue like his older brother was carrying.
Jacqueline Johns said she was there because she knows how much the support means to the Flores family. Her husband, Chase, has been in law enforcement for 36 years. He’s a sergeant with the City of Cumming Police Department now
“I see every day the things he has to go through,” said Johns, a Dawsonville resident. “I see the (post-traumatic stress disorder) that’s not recognized for officers from the stuff they have to deal with each day. The tears when they come home, the sleepless nights. And knowing what this family is going to be going through now, it’s hard. Even though we don’t know this family personally, it’s hard seeing and hearing that we’ve lost another one.”
In 2010, her husband had an aortic aneurysm while on duty on a shoplifting call. He was transported to Northside Hospital Forsyth and quickly taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for surgery. Law enforcement lined the roads, blocking “every little pig trail, every little road … so the ambulance could get him there.”
That’s why she chose to be there for the Flores family Saturday.
“It’s hard,” Johns said. “And it doesn’t matter if it’s someone in the police family we know or we don’t know. We’re all one.”
Kenneth Cagle was there, too. He and his wife, Pamela, were some of the first to show up, in a silver Jeep with American flags attached to the back and a “Blue Lives Matter” flag strapped to the front fender. He was encouraged by the turnout. His son and uncle are both deputies with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
“Their loss is our loss,” said Cagle, a Gainesville resident. “We just have to build it more and we have to get more involved … This is just a little-bitty piece of what we can do.”