Slain officer was Lassiter grad; East Cobb community feels ‘tremendous’ loss
by Lindsay Field
December 18, 2012 03:40 PM | 15176 views | 11 11 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Officer Sean Callahan - (Clayton County Police Department)
Officer Sean Callahan - (Clayton County Police Department)
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MARIETTA — A 2006 Lassiter High School graduate who was killed in the line of duty this week is being remembered as nurturing, selfless and a “strong addition” to the east Cobb community.

Clayton County Police Officer Sean Callahan, 24, responded to a domestic call at a Motel 6 in Stockbridge on Monday. While Callahan attempted to arrest the couple in question, the male suspect ran and a chase ensued. The suspect, whose name is not being released by Clayton police, fired at Callahan, hitting him twice.

The young officer was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where he underwent surgery late Monday and died around 5:15 a.m. Tuesday.

The suspect was also fatally shot.

Callahan’s family has not spoken to the media, but a friend, a former Lassiter counselor and his swim coach have all described his death as a “tremendous” loss.

Justin Baker, who met Callahan when they were attending Mabry Middle School, said Tuesday that it may sound cliché, but this tragedy couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

“I don’t know anybody who defines that more than Sean,” Baker said. “I was so proud to call him an officer. He was always very nurturing and caring, very selfless and he always put others before him, and with law enforcement, his personal qualities flowed over into his professional career.”

He last saw his friend of almost 15 years a couple of weeks ago, when they talked about Callahan’s job as an officer, one he only started four months ago.

“He said he loved it and told me that he was on his own now and it’s fun,” Baker said.

He learned about the shooting from a mutual friend and was able to visit Callahan in the hospital Monday before he died.

Callahan’s school counselor at Lassiter, Millie Dawson-Hardy, remembered him as being a quiet and shy but very “memorable” and “sweet” young man who struggled a little in school but faced the challenges head-on and always stayed positive.

“We are so tremendously sad today,” Dawson-Hardy said Tuesday afternoon. “There are many of us here on the staff who remember Sean.”

She recalled him talking about studying criminal justice in college and believes that’s what led him to enroll at Reinhardt University.

A university spokesperson said Callahan attended the college’s north Fulton campus in Alpharetta between January and June of 2011, completing the basic law enforcement training course and earned his Peace Officer certification through the state of Georgia.

Dawson-Hardy hasn’t seen Callahan since he graduated from Lassiter six years ago but was proud to hear that he had become a police officer.

“We take pride in the fact that he died doing something so honorable,” she said.

Glenn Meeden, who coached Callahan in swimming in 2004 and 2005, said the former athlete was a good swimmer and swam in a number of events.

He couldn’t recall exactly which stroke was his strongest but said, “I could tell you he was a good kid and made a strong addition to the swim team and Lassiter community.”

Meeden said he heard about the shooting on the morning news but didn’t think it was Callahan until after receiving an email from his co-workers at Lassiter that a former student had died.

“As soon as I saw his picture, then I knew that’s the Sean Callahan we had there,” he said. “When you lose someone, especially in that way, it’s pretty tough. It’s a tremendous loss and our hearts go out to his family.”

Services for Officer Callahan are set for for 11 a.m.on Friday at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in east Cobb.
Comments
(11)
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Pat H
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December 20, 2012
God bless this fine young man, a hero by all measures.

May his family find some peace and healing while missing him so much. We will all pray for you.
LHS Inside
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December 19, 2012
Dr. Dawson-Hardy has violated the educational rights of this young man who gave his life for the citizens of Georgia by telling us he "struggled in school". I am a a loss of words that an educator would say such a thing to the press while his family is burying this hero. The only smile I have now is knowing that all at LHS who have worked with her know her limits as well.

Just Wait
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December 19, 2012
Show some respect for Officer Callahan by not turning this tribute to his life into a forum for or against gun control. Respect a young man who gave his life in the protection of others.
Think about this
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December 19, 2012
Other press reports advise the person who shot Officer Callahan twice in the head was a convicted felon who served 15 years for aggravated assault, and after release from prison on that charge violated his parole, was sent back to prison for parole violation, and only released seven months ago. Wouldn't a convicted felon such as this be prohibited from having possession of a firearm ? Why is that not part of the reporting on this tragedy ?

We need to understand that, liberal pap to the contrary, there really is no such thing as a gun-free zone, and despite all the laws in the world that legally deny guns to convicted felons or unstable persons, there will always be guns out there in the hands of anti-social criminals and psychopaths. More gun control laws might make some folk feel good, but the hard reality is more gun control laws are not the answer, especially laws that demonize law-abiding responsible citizens who have the Consitutional right to bear arms for self-defense.

VFP42
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December 19, 2012
This story is not clear on the murder weapon. That must be because people kill people, right?

So was Officer Callahan fired upon and killed with a knife, a shovel, or a mental illness?

This seems to be another life needlessly lost to our pervasive and perverted gun culture. Let's hope the gun shop owner is living very comfortably and doing just fine. Maybe he is even Citizen of the Year.
No Way
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December 18, 2012
Is it necessary Dr. Dawson-Hardy that you need to mention his struggles 6-years ago in high school!
Millie Dawson-Hardy
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December 19, 2012
What I said was that Sean faced challenges in school, as most of us do, and my purpose was to demonstrate what an honorable person Sean was. In all he did he he moved forward and did the best he could. My apologizes if you were offended. I am proud of Sean and see him as a role model.
anonymous
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December 19, 2012
I agree. The man dies a heroic death and this "counselor" brings out an apparent weakness. How many great students go on to make lots of money for themselves yet never benefit society or do anything worthy of honor. How disgraceful, Milly.
anonymous
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December 18, 2012
Rest in peace, Sean, you were one of God's Best.

I pray your family is comforted and receive the peace that passes all understanding.
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