GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - A Gwinnett County officer killed in the line of duty Saturday has been identified as Officer Antwan Toney.
He had just turned 30 years old and was just 6 days from celebrating his 3rd anniversary with Gwinnett County police.
Channel 2's Tony Thomas was in Gwinnett County as Toney's colleagues and friends gathered at the fallen officers memorial just hours after his death.
Reginald Pierre said Tony regularly played with his daughter and showed her how his police car worked.
"He was practically like a brother," Pierre said. "He was always over at my house. All the time. He was a great person with a lot of heart."
Officer Toney joined the department as a recruit on October 26, 2015. He graduated from the Gwinnett Police Academy in April of 2016.
Video Thomas obtained shows the moment his mother Antoinette pinned his badge on him.
Three years later, Gwinnett Police Chief Butch Ayers got the phone call he never wanted to answer.
"What a chief wants to hear is the officer is Ok," Ayers said in a news conference. "And when I asked that question, that wasn't the answer I got."
Ayers said Toney was loved and respected by the department
"The people that worked with him on a daily basis recalled a very jovial person who was dedicated to his job and dedicated to his community," Ayers said.
That respect was on display just hours after Toney died Saturday when dozens of officers accompanied the hearse carrying his body as it left Gwinnett Medical Center.
"If you had the opportunity to meet him, you would immediately fall in love with him," a friend said at a vigil for him Saturday night.
Toney didn't just make an impression on his close friends and co-workers.
A Channel 2 Action News viewer reached out to tell us that Officer Toney provided security for her daughter's sweet 16 birthday party two years ago.
"He had such a beautiful spirit and a wonderful personality," Jiketha Gatewood wrote to us on Facebook.
The Gwinnett County Police Department released a new photo of Toney on Saturday night and said that this was Toney's first job as a police officer and his family is in California.
This was the first police job for Officer Toney. Prior to working for our agency, he worked as a security guard. His immediate family lives in California.— Gwinnett Police Dept (@GwinnettPd) October 21, 2018
Officer Toney was assigned to the South Precinct. pic.twitter.com/JKV5oOLD7K
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