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Memorial plaque for slain Athens officer damaged by gunfire

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

Senior Police Officer Buddy Christian
Senior Police Officer Buddy Christian

Bullet-strike damage to SPO Christian's memorial plaque

By Joe Johnson

A memorial on the spot where an Athens-Clarke County police officer who a decade ago was fatally shot in the line of duty was damaged this week by gunfire.

The plaque memorializes Senior Police Officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian III and is located in front of the Cascades on The River apartments, 195 Sycamore Dr., the spot where the 34-year-old officer was murdered on March 22, 2011, gunned down while trying to apprehend a suspect in a carjacking and kidnapping incident.

Melissa Christian-Griffeth stands next to her late husband's memorial

An ACCPD spokesman said the plaque was damaged Tuesday.

" ACCPD responded to the area of 195 Sycamore Drive in reference to discharging firearms. Upon arrival, officers located several shell casings in the area of the K building of 195 Sycamore Drive. There were no injuries reported but some property damage was observed," Lt. Shaun Barnett said.

"According to the report, two portions of a gate/fence were damaged, a white column directly in front of the K building had a bullet strike, and the Buddy Christian Memorial Plaque appeared to have a bullet strike," he said.

The bullet strike can bee seen on the word "carjacking" in the plaque's inscription, and white debris from material from on which the memorial is mounted is sprayed above that word.

Christian was the first ACCPD officer to be shot and killed in the line of duty since 1963, when the city of Athens police Officer Donald Moon was slain.

The man who shot and wounded Sgt. Tony Howard just prior to killing Christian was tried and convicted, and is serving a prison sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

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