Carolyn and Bud Christian are the parents of Senior Patrol Officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian.
Athens-Clarke County Senior Police Officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian (ACCPD)
ATHENS, Ga. - Some people are bigger and stronger than the tragedies in their lives.
Bud Christian told 11Alive News after watching the televised apprehension of Jamie Hood, the fugitive accused of killing his son, Senior Police Officer Buddy Christian, he's relieved and thankful, not bitter or angry.
"I believe that everyone in Georgia will sleep a lot better tonight knowing that he's in custody," Christian said late Friday night.
Bud Christian is surrounded at home by the toys he keeps for Buddy's 2-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter when they come over to play. He is determined they grow up know who their father was - a man of faith, who's ministry was police work, who believed in second chances for others, and in forgiveness.
"It's the way he was brought up," Bud Christian said, and, when asked, said his own heart can forgive Jamie Hood.
"Even forgiveness for him," Christian said. "And whatever the court system sees applicable for his punishment, we'll accept.... I'm just happy that he's not on the street with the possibility of him harming someone else."
One of Buddy Christian's goals was to be a police chaplain.
"He touched the lives of many, many people," Bud Christian said of his son. "If he would have had the opportunity, he would have been Jamie's friend. He would have tried to help him as well. But he wasn't given that opportunity because his life was cut short through this act of violence."
Bud Christian said he is especially grateful to Athens Clarke County police officers and to the GBI and the FBI and to officers from across the state who searched around the clock for Hood, and found him. He knows his son would have done no less for someone else.
"We had hoped very much that it could be completed before tomorrow," prior to visitation on Saturday and prior to the funeral on Sunday. "It was just a sigh of relief."
And, he said, he and his wife Carolyn are comforted by the outpouring of cards and letters they've been receiving from across the country, from people they don't even know, expressing their condolences.
Some people, like Bud Christian, are bigger and stronger than the tragedies in their lives.
"The outpouring of love has just been tremendous. Clarke County, pulling together in order to get something like this done, restores my faith in my fellow man."