MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - Families, communities, and officers from the Department of Corrections are hurting after the deaths of the two officers. Authorities say Sgt Chris Monica and Sgt. Curtis Billue were shot and killed with their own guns when the inmates overpowered them Tuesday morning.
Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Gregory C. Dozier in a release sent to FOX 5 News said Christopher Monica, 42, and Curtis Billue, 58, were known for their unwavering commitment to their job and their love of family.
"Today, two families lost everything in a heinous and senseless act of violence perpetrated at the hands of cowards," Gov. Nathan Deal was quoted as saying in a release sent to FOX 5 News. "Words do not adequately express our sorrow in losing Sergeant Christopher Monica and Sergeant Curtis Billue in the line of duty. The selflessness and courage of these two brave souls will not be forgotten, nor will their sacrifice and service. Sandra and I mourn alongside their families and communities, and we offer our deepest sympathies to their loved ones."
"Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of two of our officers, who are our family, and our priority is to locate these fugitives and bring them to justice for this heinous act against those working to protect the public," said Commissioner Dozier was quoted as saying in a release sent to FOX 5 News. "We are utilizing full resources of our local, state and national partners and appreciate their support."
Monica started with the DOC in October 2009 working as a correctional officer at Hancock State Prison. He was moved to Baldwin State Prison in February of 2011 where he quickly rose through the ranks being promoted to sergeant. Last July, Monica joined the Transportation Unit in Milledgeville, Georgia and worked a part-time position at Augusta State Medical Prison.
Billue had been with the DOC since July 2007 stationed at Frank Scott Correctional Facility. About two years later, he transferred to the Georgia Diagnostic Classification Prison. Sgt. Billue worked at Baldwin State Prison for two years until March 2013 when he joined the Transportation Unit in Milledgeville, Georgia.
Thursday Commissioner Greg Dozier took a moment to talk about the loss of the two officers, describing the impact their lives and their deaths have had on the community. He said when he arrived at the scene of the shooting Tuesday morning he was overwhelmed with pain. "The pain and anguish started in the toes of my feet and went up to my heart," said Commissioner Dozier.
Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said Sgt. Monica leaves behind a wife and Sgt. Billue, 58, leaves behind a father, brother, and sister.
"We lost two of our fellow officers, two of our kin. We see our officers as our family," Dozier said.
"Our deepest condolences from the sheriff's office here in Madison County and their relatives of anyone involved," said Captain Jimmy Patton with the Madison County Sheriff's Office.
Monica was 42 and leaves behind a wife, Dozier said. Billue was 58 and is survived by his father, five sisters, two brothers and two sons, said Jim Green, an attorney speaking for the Billue family.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help the family. It says that Sgt. Monica had been taking on extra shifts so his wife wouldn't have to work because she was having health issues.
"Officer Billue's family asks for prayers for all of those who are now placing their own lives at risk to bring these men to justice and asks anyone who has information that may assist in apprehending these perpetrators to please contact law enforcement," Green said in an email.
The funerals for both men have been set. Sgt. Billue's is this Saturday in McIntyre. The service for Sgt. Monica will be Tuesday in Milledgeville.
The Associated Press contributed to this report