'An angel among us': Community bids farewell to fallen Clayton County officer
CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - Mourners packed the Light of Joy Church Monday to say their final goodbyes to a fallen police officer.
Officer Armando Mendoza, 22, died April 19 after a collision between his patrol car and another vehicle.
Mendoza had only worked for the Clayton County Police Department since September 2020, but his colleagues said he made an immediate impact.
Officer Armando Mendoza (Police photo)
RELATED: 'His smile was so contagious': Loved ones remember Clayton County officer killed in car crash
"Officer Mendoza referred to me as 'Pop,'" said Field Training Officer Richard Santos. "He would say, 'Pop, I'm just checking on you. I want to thank you for everything you taught me. It's paying off.'"
Officer Mendoza was a graduate of Sandy Creek High School and Georgia Military College.
Friends said Mendoza was "a breath of fresh air" with "a trillion dollar smile" and that carried over into his service as a police officer.
Officer Armando Mendoza (Family photo)
"'Angels don't live long in this world.' Those are the words that Armando's grandmother replied to the sheriff and I when we notified her of his passing," recalled Clayton County Police Chief Kevin Roberts. "'Angels don't live long in this world.' Officer Mendoza was an angel among us and he will continue to watch over and protect his fellow officers and his Clayton County community and we should all rejoice in that fact."
WATCH: FOX 5 Atlanta live news coverage
Sign up for FOX 5 email alerts
Download the FOX 5 Atlanta app for breaking news and weather alerts.