GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — He died protecting the community he loved. Today, the community had a chance to say its final goodbye.
Law enforcement officers from all across Georgia and other states came together to honor and pay tribute to Gwinnett County Police Officer Antwan Toney.
Toney, 30, was shot and killed while responding to a suspicious vehicle behind a middle school last week.
With a casket draped in the American flag and Toney's family sitting feet away, his fellow officers spoke of how Toney always brightened everyone's day.
"This country will never realize the large loss that we are all suffering," Gwinnett officer Ryan Walsh said.
Toney's sister Carla Johnson said her brother had a lifelong desire to become a police officer.
"For his friends and colleagues, Antwan wanted to make this world better," Johnson said in her eulogy. "Twan, you made mommy very proud. You made all of us very proud."
Officer M. Smith came up through the police academy with Toney and the two lived in the same neighborhood. Smith spoke at the funeral about the moment he knew his friend did not make it.
"I hear Toney’s voice on the radio for one last time. For some reason, I had this feeling he said it for me," Smith said.
The officer said that Toney would always joke that he would be police chief and would make Smith his assistant police chief.
"To my brother, I present this chief badge," Smith said as he held one up for his friend.
Channel 2's Berndt Petersen was there as hundreds of mourners lined a 19-mile route through Gwinnett County to show respect during the funeral procession
Petersen spoke with many who have loved ones that wear badges, including Gail Braik whose son is an officer.
"He was on duty when I heard about it. I called him. I was terrified. He said, 'I'm OK, momma. Don't worry about me.' But I do. He's my baby," Braik told Petersen.
Some mourners waited two hours along the route from the memorial service in Lawrenceville to a funeral home in Peachtree Corners.
"I'm grateful for all the ones who have shown up. But we need to show more respect for them while they're here -- for what they do," said Lori King, whose husband is a deputy.
On Tuesday, hundreds attended a visitation for Toney at a funeral home in Peachtree Corners. They included his family, friends, police officers and other community members.
The alleged gunman who killed Toney was found Monday following a massive manhunt. He was killed after refusing to surrender to police.
Toney is the fourth Georgia officer killed by gunfire this year.
The full funeral service and procession can be seen here:
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