The sorrow crossed state lines as Aiken law enforcement agencies joined several others in mourning the death of Richmond County Investigator Cecil Ridley.
Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree provided updates on the incident in an emotional news conference Wednesday afternoon.
Ridley was shot and killed Tuesday night while involved in specialized operations at the Shop Mart located at Martin Luther King Boulevard and 12th Street in Augusta, Roundtree said.
Ridley and other deputies were conducting an investigation in the parking lot of the store when the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Alvin Hester Jr., left the parking lot against the instruction of deputies and retreated inside the store.
Once inside, the suspect was confronted by a deputy, Roundtree said.
Hester, who was carrying a bag containing drugs and three handguns, pulled out one of the handguns and shot Ridley as he was entering the store as backup.
Two other deputies returned fire and injured the suspect, who was taken to Augusta University Medical Center. He remains there under guard by deputies.
Ridley was transported by ambulance to the Augusta University Medical Center and was later pronounced deceased at 11:45 p.m., Roundtree said.
Ridley had a combined 12 years at the sheriff's office.
Roundtree described Ridley as being "extremely passionate" about his job.
Ridley was assigned to the narcotics division for a majority of his career.
Sheriff Michael Hunt said the Aiken County Sheriff's Office had worked cases with Ridley and the Richmond County narcotics units in the past.
The sheriff's office, along with several other law enforcement agencies, called to offer condolences .
"Our prayers are with his family, Sheriff Roundtree and the Richmond County Sheriff's Office," Hunt said. "This is a tragic incident. I was in contact with Sheriff Roundtree last night and again this morning, and he knows we stand ready to provide whatever assistance we can."
Chief Charles Barranco with the Aiken Department of Public Safety remembers and is grateful for the support Richmond County provided following the line-of-duty deaths of Master Public Safety Officer Scotty Richardson in 2011 and Master Cpl. Sandy Rodgers in 2012.
"It is with a heavy heart that we join the community in mourning the loss of Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Cecil Ridley," Barranco said. "The family of Investigator Ridley, his friends and colleagues and all those affected by this tragedy are in our thoughts and prayers. We have not forgotten their support and professionalism, and we are here to assist them in any way we can."
Roundtree said the Georgia Bureau of Investigations is continuing to investigate the shooting.