Georgia state trooper killed in line of duty laid to rest Friday

Family and friends said their final goodbyes on Friday to a Georgia state trooper killed in a crash in the line of duty.

Georgia State Trooper Jimmy Cenescar died after a crash on Sunday, Jan. 28, while attempting to stop a motorcycle for a traffic violation on Interstate 85. Cenescar's vehicle left the road and struck an embankment. Emergency personnel responded and attempted life-saving measures before he was rushed to Northside Gwinnett Hospital where he passed away.

"Anything that he said he was going to do, he always did," his fiancé Natalia said. "And he followed through."

A procession of officers escorted his casket to Mount Paran Church in Buckhead, carried by horse and carriage and draped with an American flag.

"Even though he’s not with us, we will always feel his love," his fiancé said.

His brother told mourners that as a kid, he wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up.

But policing was his life's passion.

"Jimmy passed doing what he loved," his brother said. "That’s something that you guys need to understand, that’s something he loved."

The trooper's remains were transported to Mableton where he was laid to rest Friday afternoon.

Cenescar was born in Haiti and was inspired by his aunt to pursue his law enforcement career.

 Jimmy Cenescar

In 2021, he was credited with risking his own safety to save a man's life who had driven a car off a cliff in northwest Atlanta.

"I knew I had to take action quickly to get that driver out of the vehicle because I knew there were train tracks," said Cenescar, who worked with the Atlanta Police Department at the time.

Reaction to Cenescar's death came in from across the state from politicians and family and friends mourning the loss of the 28-year-old trooper.

"I would urge all Georgians to keep this family and his fiancee in your thoughts and prayers as they continue to deal with this horrific loss on behalf of our state," Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said.

On Feb. 2, the GSP announced the arrest of Gerson Ayala Rodriguez in connection to Cenescar's death. He was arrested in Norcross and taken into custody by the GSP and Gwinnett County police.

Rodriguez is facing 10 charges in connection with the trooper's death, including felony murder and first-degree homicide.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety is also warning people about a fake fundraiser page on social media that is asking for donations to support Cenescar's family. 

The department says it has reported the fake page to Facebook.