APD officer buys car for family of colleague killed in wreck

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ATLANTA, Ga. - An Atlanta police officer dug into his own pocket to help the family of his colleague who died last week in an SUV crash.

Officer Willie Arnold, a 13-year-veteran with the Atlanta police force, said he was heartbroken when his colleague and friend, Officer Ryan Baird, died in a wreck in Douglas County. The SUV Baird was driving was his family's only means of transportation.

Arnold wanted to help, so he quietly bought a car for Baird's family and gave it to his wife.

Channel 2's Ryan Young found out about the generous deed and asked Arnold all about it.

"I knew she needed a vehicle because he was looking for her a vehicle before he passed. He didn't get the opportunity to purchase the vehicle before he passed. I took it upon myself and found a vehicle and gave it to her," Arnold said.

Arnold went on to talk about Baird's dedication to his family.

"He was a people's person. He was family-oriented. He was special. He loved his family," Arnold said.

Arnold said he simply finished one of the things his dear friend never had a chance to do, and that's buy a car for his wife.

Arnold said the gesture he made was out of love and fellow officers recognized it Tuesday by giving him an award.

"I started getting teary-eyed at (Arnold) buying (Baird's) wife that car. You just don't see that every day," a colleague told Young.

Monday night, many of the officers who worked with Baird got together and spoke about his legacy. His picture still hangs in the precinct and during roll call; his friends are reminded of his presence and his smile.

"He would go out of his way to help anyone. He was just a great guy to work with," Arnold said. "He was a friend, a co-worker, and all-around great guy."

Thousands have applauded Officer Arnold for his kindness. Click here to join them on Facebook.