Richmond County Sheriff opens up about the loss of Deputies

Published: Nov. 3, 2017 at 7:49 PM EDT
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Friday, Nov. 03, 2017

(News 12 at 6 O’clock)

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- To say the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office had a tough week is an understatement. In the last four days, they've lost three of their own. In the last year, they've lost five.

“... It's tough”

It's a sudden reality that’s' brought the Sheriff to an emotional point. The tears fall for investigator Christian Gandy, Deputy James Wallace, and Deputy Herbert Tordoff.

The week started with the death of Investigator Christian Gandy on Tuesday. He was riding his motorcycle, off-duty when he hit a deer.

Sheriff Richard Roundtree talks with Kelly Wiley about the recent losses, “As word spread people wanted to go see for themselves. That's when we realized we lost one of our own.”

“Here is a man who is working violent crimes, going after the worst of the worst criminals that this county has to offer, for it to end in a fluke accident. It just doesn't seem fair,” continues the Sheriff.

Not even 48 hours later, Deputy James Wallace died from a heart attack during the annual Sheriff’s Office physical assessment.

"They saw him collapse. Some of the officers took it extremely hard," said Sheriff Roundtree.

A father figure to many Wallace joined the department at 54-years-old.

"It was no doubt that at fifty-four, he had a calling to serve,"said Roundtree.

The Sheriff says his calling to serve was something he had in common with Deputy Herbert Tordoff.

A medically retired Richmond County Deputy who lost his battle with cancer this week.

“He retired not because he wanted to but because medical reasons he had to. That’s tragic. Someone having to give up what they love to do and then to succumb to those illnesses," said Roundtree.

It's almost too much to bear in one week but crime doesn't take a day off, so they won't either.

“We are hurting as an agency, but guess what we are going to answer every call that comes in. We will not miss a call," said Roundtree.