LOCUST GROVE — On Feb. 8 three law enforcement officers were dispatched to a Locust Grove address to serve a warrant. After a brief conversation with the subject the officers tried to take him into custody, but he resisted. An altercation followed with shots fired.
In the gunfight, the suspect was killed, but not before his bullets had found their way into all three law enforcement officers. Upon being interviewed after the lethal exchange, Henry Country Sheriff Keith McBrayer stated that he initially did not know how many shots had been fired or who fired the shot(s) that killed the suspect. However, after the investigation had been completed the Sheriff stated that Deputy Ralph Sidwell “Sid”Callaway fired all the rounds that hit the suspect.
Chase Maddox, a Locust Grove Police Department Officer, age 26, was shot and killed. The two Henry County Sheriff’s Deputies Michael D. Corley and Callaway were shot. Corley was listed in fair condition a day after the shooting, but Callaway’s wound was much more life threatening.
The Christian Index recently interviewed Callaway, who is a member of Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church and the Coach’s Ministry Director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
When the altercation started Callaway was hit in the head with a hard object and knocked to his feet. With the fight escalating the subject started backing up the stairway inside the house. Callaway got up from being knocked down to help the other officers.
Callaway said, “A gun appeared in the subject’s hand from nowhere and I yelled, ‘He has a gun’ and returned fire. After the shooting was over I fell down the stairs. I knew while the shooting was taking place that I had been hit.
“I knew that the suspect was down, but was unaware of Officer Maddox’s condition. I found out a few days later while in the hospital that he didn’t survive. That news devastated me!
“I was in a daze, but was conscious enough to see that Maddox was down. He had been shot in the head three times. Deputy Corley had been shot in the side, but the bullet did not go through his vest. However, the impact was so traumatic that it caused internal injuries, but did prevent a fatal wound. He attended to me and stood over me to protect me.”
“I was going in and out of consciousness, but knew my condition was serious. When the first responders got to the house of the gunfight they called a life flight helicopter for me. I was taken by ambulance to a nearby ball field where the helicopter landed to take me to the Atlanta Medical Center.
“During those moments following the incident I had difficulty seeing and breathing. The surgery was complicated, because the bullet hit me below my bulletproof vest and entered my abdomen. They had to repair several areas of my colon. My intestines were also severely damaged.
“My wife, LuAnn, found out about the gunfight when she saw the news on television. The reporters did not identify the officers who were shot, but LuAnn intuitively knew that somehow I was involved in the attempted arrest and shootout. She said, ‘The Holy Spirit told me that you had been shot.’
“As the news report was ending two deputies appeared at the front door of our home to tell LuAnn that I was involved in the shooting reported on television and drove her to the hospital.”
“LuAnn and my son and daughter-in-law were faithful to be with me in the hospital during my surgery and in the days following the operation; and that made the situation much better and aided my recovery.
Callaway declared, “I was determined to go to the funeral of Chase Maddox, held at Glen Haven Baptist Church. Although it was eight days after the shooting I still had to get special permission to leave the hospital to go to the funeral. At the last minute, the doctors consented and I got there by way of an ambulance and was rolled into the church in a wheelchair. After the funeral I went home to continue my recovery.”
Callaway continued, “I am a sheriff’s deputy, because I want to be in a position to serve and protect others. As Christians we are to have a warrior mindset in all areas of life. We are supposed to be in a battle for the Kingdom. I feel that I am called to protect my neighbors and community.
“I’m a Christ follower so I want that to be reflected in my service as a law enforcement officer.
“I grew up in church, but it was not until after I graduated from high school that I became a Christian. I got on my knees one night, prayed and asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me from my sins. The Holy Spirit convicted me of my sins and I did business with God that night.
“I went to the University of Georgia and walked on to play football under coach Vince Dooley. I got in the FCA and met Christian athletes and I have stayed with the ministry organization all these years.
“I have served as a student pastor in a church, worked in law enforcement with Clark County, but for years now I have been serving the Lord with the FCA. In fact, my church supports my ministry as a full-time servant of the Lord with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“I volunteer as a Sheriff’s Deputy, but even that is a part of my ministry. It is a job with some serious risks, but my faith sustains me in everything I do; and it challenges me to be ready at all times physically, mentally, and spiritually.
“I suppose you could say that Psalm 84:11 is my life verse. It says, ‘The Lord thy God is a sun and a shield. He will give thee grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
Supported by that verse of scripture and his faith, “Sid” Callaway plans to return to his role with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office as soon as he has fully recovered from being shot in the line of duty.
In this crazy day in which we live law enforcement officers are sometimes not given the respect and honor which they deserve, but Callaway said, “As a result of this experience the community has come together and given wonderful support. It has exceeded anything I could have imagined. I have gotten hundreds of letters, cards, and emails from law enforcement agencies and people all over the country.”
It is right and important to pray for and support your local law enforcement officers and organizations.