AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - Just a day after his best friend and fellow officer was laid to rest, Officer Jody Smith took a final trip through the campus he served, as his body was transported from the crime lab in Macon back to Americus.
As Georgia Southwestern State University faculty and students looked on, Officer Smith's brothers in blue traveled through the campus, transporting their fellow peacemaker home.
"Knowing that a life itself is gone, hearing it, and seeing the police it's just been real crazy," said GSW senior Kwantesha Love.
With sirens blaring, GSW's campus welcomed Patrol Officer Jody Smith, killed in the line of duty last week, back home.
"I feel real sad to know that somebody lost their son and to know that their life was cut so short," said GSW sophomore Khayla Owens.
Though the campus is emptier than usual because of the holiday break, everyone from students, to the school's interim president, packed the streets to pay their respects.
"It's a down time for us to not have him here anymore," explained Owens. "It's not the best, but we're pushing through and to have the support of the community is great."
"I think you could see it on their faces. They understand the gravity of the sacrifice that he's made," said GSW Interim President Dr. Charles Patterson.
After the procession, Patterson made his way to comfort Smith's family.
"Certainly they're distraught. They've lost their son, and we've lost our on-campus officer," explained Patterson. "It's important to convey to them that he's lost but he's not forgotten."
Minutes later, a crowd looked on as the procession ended at the Greg Hancock Funeral Home.
"We wanted to come out and show our support to both families, Nick Smarr and Jody Smith," said resident Leslie Johnson.
Smith's body, draped in an American flag, a symbol of the sacrifices he made for this now closer-than-ever community.
"He made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our community and our campus," said Patterson.
Johnson showed up at the funeral home several hours before Smith's body arrived.
She lives down the street from the shooting scene.
She heard the gunshots last week and ran to see the officers lying next to each other.
Johnson also was a teacher's assistant in Nick Smarr's kindergarten class, and she says the entire Americus community is hurting.
"I just hate that this has happened, but our prayers are with the families, and we are here to support in any way that we can," said Johnson.
Johnson said that she continues to struggle with what she saw last week.
Officer Smith's funeral is set for Wednesday at 11 a.m., and will be held at the GSW Storm Dome on campus.