BUFORD, Ga. — A 63-year-old who was trying to fend off a robbery suspect Wednesday near Buford was a former Gwinnett County Sheriff's Deputy, police said.
Felix Cosme, of Dacula, was working at an O'Reilly Auto Parts store when the suspect entered the store and demanded the cash drawer, according to authorities.
Cosme allegedly attempted to draw his own gun, however, the suspect fired at him, killing him.
He worked at the sheriff's office as a sergeant from April 2006 until November 2015. He served in jail administration until his retirement.
"Cosme died a hero’s death as he attempted to protect himself and a female co-worker from a violent criminal with no regard for human life," the sheriff's office said in a statement on Facebook.
His next of kin was notified on scene last night.
"We extend our thanks to our brothers and sisters with Gwinnett County Police, who are working long hours to locate the suspect(s) responsible for this horrific crime," the sheriff's office said.
Deputy Shannon Volkodav said Cosme was loved by everyone. She said he has an extensive law-enforcement background dating back to 1979 with the Macon Police Department and later with the Charleston Police Department.
"He always had a smile for everyone., he was very very respected and loved by everyone who knew him in the Sheriff's office," Volkodav said. "We were shocked."
The suspect fled the store, got into his vehicle, and was last seen driving towards Interstate 85.
"His actions reflect well on his law enforcement career," she said. "He was a hero. He acted heroically."
If anyone has any information to share in this case, please contact GCPD detectives at 770-513-5300. To remain anonymous, tipsters should contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or visit www.stopcrimeATL.com. Crime Stoppers tipsters can receive a cash reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case. Case Number: 20-002382