Law enforcement officers remember Deonn Carter as "an angel"
The mother of Deonn Carter, the beloved autistic man who was shot during a robbery, called on the community to support law enforcement during the Blue Lights & the CommUnity 2016 program Thursday at the Columbus Visitors Center.
Carter, 31, was scheduled to speak during the event sponsored by the Police Benevolent Association of Georgia’s West Central Chapter before he died of complications from a gunshot wound on Aug. 20. He was well-known by public safety personnel who stopped by the Piggly Wiggly on River Road where he worked as a bagger.
Suzette Ragland, Carter’s mother, felt a need to speak to about 100 people from public safety and law enforcement because of shooting incidents across the country.
“We teach our children at a young age to go to the police if they are in trouble,” she said. “People are pulling away from that because of all the stuff that’s going on. We shouldn’t be afraid of police. They are there to protect us. We want people to still trust the police.”
Five young men have been charged with murder in connection with the Aug. 9 shooting of Carter at the Britt David apartment complex.
Police Lt. Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick, a member of the Police Benevolent Association, said the gathering of law enforcement, city officials and others was focused on bringing unity back to the community. It was an effort to prevent crime before incidents like the recent massacre in Texas where five police officers were killed by a sniper.
Ragland said her son did bring an impact to Columbus and that love shouldn’t be misused.
“It should bring people together,” she said. “All Deonn wanted was everybody to love each other from the bottom of my heart and the bottom of his heart. This has been something that needed to be said throughout the community.”