Local leaders react to murder-suicide - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Local leaders react to murder-suicide

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September 22, 2004

Albany--- News of Tuesday's shocking murder-suicide hit city commissioner Henry Mathis hard.

"It's a tragedy,” said Mathis. “Our heart goes out to the family and loved ones."

Mathis is asking the City to pray for the Hayslip and Wilkerson families, as well as the police department family. "We have a great police department, and that family is in mourning too. It's a terrible loss. We are going to do everything we can to lift the spirits of those involved including the Hayslip family, Wilkerson family, and our police department family."

The arrest of seven officers and now the tragic murder suicide involving officer Andrew Hayslip raises concerns about the competence of Albany police officers. But, Mathis says the department is one the best in the state and its officers can and should be trusted by the public.

"We all suffer set backs, but you must learn from those set backs,” said Mathis. “And, this will only make us better."

Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek says it's always hard for law enforcers to deal with the death of a fellow officer regardless of how that officers dies. "We work in a profession where there are close bonds just by the nature of the work. We see that type of violence and tragedy on a fairly normal basis, but it hits you differently when it's someone you know well."

Many DCP officers knew both the victim, Ladonna Wilkerson, and the shooter, Andrew Hayslip, since Wilkerson once worked for the DCP. "We're in a profession where we're held to a higher standard, as it should be. So it's extra hard when we have problems with someone in our own ranks," Cheek said.

It's a dark day for Albany public safety, this murder suicide is strongly affecting all badges across the county.

posted at 6:10PM by dave.miller@walb.com