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Gwinnett County school mourns unexpected death of resource officer

Officer Robby Kinney died Tuesday after work, according to a letter sent out by Dacula High School.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Dacula High School is offering grief counseling via phone, following the unexpected death of one of its own.

In a letter sent out to students, parents, and staff on Wednesday, Principal Bryan Long said, "Our school community is saddened to share the news that Officer Robby Kinney, one of our School Resource Officers, passed away unexpectedly yesterday after work."

The 41-year-old served as a deputy for the Hall County Sheriff's Office for just over a decade before accepting a position as a School Resource Office in Gwinnett County in July of 2019.

The Dacula High principal explaining in his letter that while Kinney was new to the school, "he had built a rapport with students and staff alike and was well respected."

The school announced their counselor and crisis support team would be available during the school day to speak with students online or by phone to help them cope with the "many emotions that accompany a loss."

Gwinnett County Public Schools officials said they could not comment on the cause of Kinney's death, citing federal health privacy laws. 

The Hall County Sheriff's Office also mourning Kinney's death, posting on their social media page on Wednesday that "he always had a smile on his face."

Major Chris Matthews, commander of the Sheriff’s Office Administrative Bureau, said Kinney was a great employee and friend.

“I never heard anyone utter a negative word about Robby Kinney. He was a wonderful mentor to the children in our community and had such an amazing love for his own children and wife.”

“It’s difficult to put into perspective the loss of someone so young with so much more to offer the community,” Sheriff Gerald Couch said. “I can only express how thankful I am for the contributions Robby Kinney made to the Sheriff’s Office family and his students. I offer my condolences and ongoing prayers for the Kinney family, who will always be a part of our law enforcement family."

Kinney's family is holding a visitation from 2 until 9 p.m. Friday at Evans Funeral Home, 1350 Winder Highway in Jefferson. A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Talmo Baptist Church Cemetery, 475 Main Street in Talmo.

Attendees are asked to practice social distancing or at least six feet at the visitation and graveside service. Mourners are also asked to bring lawn chairs to the graveside service to help with social distancing.

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