Monday night, a wake for fallen DeKalb County Police Officer Ricky Bryant Jr. brought family, friends and fellow officers together to mourn and honor a man who died as he lived -- serving others.
Bryant and fellow officer, Eric Barker, were shot to death last week while working an off-duty security job at a DeKalb County apartment complex.
At the wake, family and friends of Bryant spoke of his dazzling smile and his dedication to putting others first.
The private service at Levett and Sons Funeral Home lasted just over an hour. DeKalb County police officers -- in tears with the family and friends of Officer Bryant, celebrating his life; his 26 years.
"The thing that I remember most about Ricky is that he loved his children," said friend Carmilla Zion. "A very honorable man."
Mourners began arriving an hour before the service to get a seat in the chapel. Bryant's widow and four children and other close relatives received a police escort to the service, where mourners spoke of a man who just wanted to help others, and did -- first as a Marine, then as a police officer.
"He'd always tell me, when I'd tell him I'm having a problem, you'll have to adapt," said friend Corinthian Jones. "And that's what I want everybody to do -- and that's what he wanted us all to do -- adapt and overcome."
Ben and Sabrina Jones brought a framed photo of Officer Bryant to give to his family, a photo they took when Bryant spoke at Career Day at their children's school last year, making a lasting impression on the children.
"Someone who makes them feel safe," said Ben Jones. "He let the kids play in the [police] car that day. Something they can remember him by. Something they can cherish and respect later on in life."
As he was leaving after the service, Congressman Hank Johnson said that he's been trying to find a way to come up with some federal funds to supplement police pay in DeKalb County -- saying those two officers should have been home with their families instead of having to moonlight just to support them.