Wade Corley, the pastor of the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Griffin, Ga. had a special message ready for his congregation Sunday.
It was titled “When There’s No Answer.” Both Corley’s sermon and the song “Hallelujah” were dedicated to everyone who works in law enforcement.
Corley’s brother Michael was one of the Henry County deputies who was involved in a shooting Friday morning while serving an arrest warrant at a home in Locust Grove located about 40 miles southeast of Atlanta.
Deputy Corley and Deputy Ralph Sidwell “Sid” Callaway were wounded in the exchange of gunfire. Their backup who they called to the scene, Locust Grove Police Officer Chase Maddox, was killed. Maddox, 26, was a five-year veteran of the police department. He leaves behind his wife who’s currently expecting the birth of their second child and a young son.
The officer’s death has shocked the residents of the city of around 6,000.
Pastor Corley reminded his congregation that there’s only one way to find answers in life.
“Don’t turn to the world for answers,” he said. “Turn to God.”
“As a pastor, when situations come up like this…everybody runs to the pastor and asks ‘Pastor, why?'” Corley told Atlanta television station WXIA. “God knows what he’s doing, but that don’t take away the pain. God is in control, but that still don’t take away the pain.”
Deputy Callaway is still in the hospital and is listed in stable condition. Corley’s brother Michael was treated and released over the weekend.
Pastor Corley said after he heard about the shooting, he tried calling his brother. After his brother answered the phone, he told Pastor Corley he had been shot.
“I heard him say it over and over and over, ‘I’m still breathing. I’m still breathing,'” Corley recalled. “And that’s important to me. I could have been planning his funeral.”
Locust Grove Mayor Robert Price asked for prayers for the slain officer’s family.
“His wife is expecting their second child any day now, I’m told. We just need a lot of prayers for he and his wife and the baby that’s coming into this world without a daddy because of somebody …” Price said choking up during an interview Friday.
Henry County Sheriff Keith McBrayer said gunshots were fired inside the house as the deputies were trying to take a male suspect into custody on a warrant from the municipal court in Locust Grove.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident. The GBI identified the suspect as Tierra Guthrie, 39, on its Twitter page Friday night, but released no other details about him.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced for Maddox.