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Sheriffs From Across Florida Honor The Fallen

Washington County Sheriff Bobby Hancock leading the invocation.
Nick Evans

Florida sheriffs gathered in Tallahassee Monday to honor those who lost their lives last year in the line of duty.  The Florida Sheriff’s association memorialized three deputies including Leon County’s Chris Smith.

In November last year, Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Smith responded to a house fire on Caracus Court.  Curtis Wade Holley set the fire to his own home in an attempt to draw in and then ambush first responders.  Holley shot and killed Smith when the deputy arrived at the scene.  Monday the Florida Sheriff’s Association added Smith’s name to its memorial wall. 

Deputies gathering for a picture at the monument.
Credit Nick Evans
Deputies gathering for a picture at the monument.

Surrounded by four large oaks, the black marble wall rises from a round floor of slate grey bricks.  At the center of the monument is a sculpture of six figures—the family and partner of a fallen deputy seated on a bench flanked by two deputies and a sheriff.  In addition to Smith, the ceremony honored two others who died in the line of duty: Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Mark H. Larson and Orange County Deputy Jonathan Scott Pine. 

“These individuals gave selflessly of their lives to protect the citizens of their communities and of Florida, and to uphold our laws and safeguard our way of life,” Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell says. 

Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood says Smith was a lifelong public servant, working for nearly 25 years in the Jefferson and Leon County Sheriff departments.

“On a scale of what it’s important,” Wood says, “what we’re doing today is miniscule compared to the sacrifice his family made, and that he made obviously, but we do love his family very much—his brother, his wife, his children—so that’s kind of what today’s all about.  Just recognizing the sacrifice and commitment.”

And Wood says Smith’s family appreciates the support of the Tallahassee community. 

“I know I can say this on behalf of Chris’s family, there’s been an outpouring of community support Tallahassee’s a wonderful place, and his family feels that love, I can tell you that,” Wood says.

Next week, Smith, Larson and Pine’s names go up on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C.

Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.