Henry County, GA – Henry County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Sergeant Sean Free died in the line of duty on June 14 after he suffered a medical emergency while attending a training at the agency’s gun range, according to his department.
The HCSO said the 41-year-old deputy was inside a classroom at the range when he suddenly began feeling nauseous, WSB reported.
Sgt. Free was conscious and alert as he was being transported to the hospital, but he ultimately succumbed to the medical emergency, the sheriff’s office said.
His cause of death has not been concluded and will be determined by the medical examiner’s office, the HCSO said in a press release on June 15.
The HCSO said that reports alleging the veteran deputy died from heatstroke are inaccurate.
“It is with a heavy heart that The Henry County Sheriff’s Office announces the passing of our beloved colleague and friend, Sergeant Sean M. Free,” the sheriff’s office said.
Sgt. Free served the department for nearly 16 years.
“Free was known amongst his friends to have a smile that lit up any room and as an outspoken proponent for his friends,” the HCSO said. “His dedication to his companions was rivaled only by his dedication to law enforcement and his great faith.”
“Rest easy brother. We’ve got the Watch from here,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
Sgt. Free’s friend and former coworker, Robert Howell, said he worked alongside the longtime deputy for approximately 13 years, WSB reported.
“He absolutely loved his job,” Howell said. “It’s just devastating. It’s heartbreaking. He’s a young man that’s just gone too soon.”
Sgt. Free served in many capacities for his department, including helping out at the jail, serving warrants, and working as a school resource officer, Howell told WSB.
“To put it simply, he was an honest friend and a faithful servant,” he added, according to WXIA. “The guy loved wearing the badge. And he put all of his energy in doing the job and doing the job well… And anyone in the county, any of the city agencies, the county police department, the sheriff’s office, they’ll tell you the same thing: Sean Free would be there to help you no matter what.”
The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office sends its condolences to the Henry County Sheriff’s Office for the loss of Sergeant Sean Free. Our hearts go out to the Free family and the entire HCSO community. Thank you for your service. pic.twitter.com/uHcr665lgh
— Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office (@GwinnettSO) June 15, 2022
RIGHT NOW: Flags are at half-staff outside the Henry County Sheriff’s Office in memory of Sgt. Sean Free who died yesterday after nearly 16 years of service. Details on @cbs46 at 4/6pm. pic.twitter.com/SFeLHqqdM7
— Patrick Quinn (@PatrickQuinnTV) June 15, 2022
RIP. Georgia Sergeant Sean Free passed away from a medical emergency during a training exercise. His parents were following the ambulance that transported him to the hospital when his father suffered a heart attack & is in critical condition. #rip #hero #eow #SergeantSeanFree pic.twitter.com/IYA0SXoufw
— Protecting the Blue (@protectingblue) June 15, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Henry County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Sean Free, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.