HENRY COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Henry County officers gave a moving tribute this week to a fallen comrade, whose death left a massive hole in the hearts of his fellow officers, family, and friends.
Henry County police officer Michael Wayne died in late December, nearly three weeks after a struggle with a man outside a dental office.
His loved ones say Smith was a beloved husband, father and officer who should never be forgotten.
That's why several officers gathered for a special unveiling late Thursday afternoon at Henry County Police Headquarters to see his name unveiled on the Georgia Law Enforcement Traveling Memorial Wall.
Smith's story moved people far beyond the Henry County community. He died after he was shot while struggling with a man witnesses say was behaving erratically when he entered a dental office on Jonesboro Road in McDonough.
After the office staff called 911, Smith arrived to intervene, but investigators say the man became combative and tried to grab Smith's gun.
It discharged a single round, killing the man and striking Smith in the face.
Officers pour in and out around the clock at Grady Memorial where Smith remained in critical condition. There was a collective sigh of relief when doctors gave him the OK for rehab at the Shepherd Center for further treatment for a severe brain injury.
He was transferred to the center eight days after the shooting, but died from complications on Dec, 28.
Smith's name will now remain on the Georgia Law Enforcement Memorial Wall, which is dedicated to honor "these brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting life and property in the proud tradition of the public safety services."