VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Flags fly at half-staff at law enforcement agencies around Lowndes County.
A day of reflection and remembrance.
"He just had the passion to serve and the personality to do it," said Paulk.
Sadly, Deputy Chris Butler's service to Lowndes County and the sheriff's department ended all too soon.
As Deputy Butler responded to a domestic violence call, lights and sirens flashing, he was struck by a semi.
According to GSP, the truck driver was attempting to make a right turn onto Cat Creek Road when he crossed the center line, hitting Butler's patrol car almost head-on.
"He responded exactly how he was trained to do and suddenly you just have life snuffed out," said Paulk.
A tragic wreck that the sheriff said shouldn't have happened.
He urges all drivers to remember how dangerous a vehicle can be and how important it is to keep yourself and others safe.
"They don't realize they're driving something that kills. You're driving a missile," said Sheriff Paulk.
And while telling a family that a loved one won't be coming home is part of an officer's job, this case was too close to home.
"We deal with tragedy every day and it's one of the toughest things. As a sheriff especially, to have to notify a family you've lost, you know, I feel totally responsible. I'm the one who put him there," said Paulk.
Butler started at the department in April of last year.
He leaves behind a wife and twin daughters.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced it.