A Georgia community is in mourning after an experienced narcotics investigator was gunned down in a "cowardly act" while on a routine patrol Tuesday night, said the sheriff.
Cecil Ridley, a narcotics investigator with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, was among the officers confronting individuals outside a convenience store in Augusta around 8:30 p.m., according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
When one of the men being questioned, 24-year-old Alvin Theodore Hester Jr., left the parking lot against instruction of deputies and walked into the convenience store, an officer approached him inside, according to Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree.
Then Hester tried to leave the store, and at the same time, Ridley was walking in as backup, authorities said.
That's when Hester -- allegedly holding a bag with three guns and drugs -- approached 51-year-old Ridley and shot and killed him, according to the sheriff.
Two officers returned fire at Hester and he was struck and taken into custody, authorities said.
Ridley was part of a proactive team to combat "senseless gun violence" in Augusta and was one of the most "aggressive and seasoned investigators," Roundtree said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
"These teams are designed to conduct aggressive operations," targeting areas where drug, gang and gun activity are most prevalent, the sheriff said.
Ridley spent 17 years with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and "was assigned to the narcotics division for the majority of his career."
GBI employees line up outside of our Headquarters facility to view the police escort for Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Cecil Ridley. We pay tribute to Inv. Ridley for dedicating his life to service.