Thousands expected at deputy's funeral Thursday

Thousands of mourners, including a large contingent of law enforcement officers from across the region, are expected to pay their final respects Thursday to slain Clayton County sheriff's Deputy Rick Daly.

Daly, 55, of Zebulon, was killed July 20, during a traffic stop in Riverdale, becoming the first countywide officer in Clayton to die gunfire in the line of duty.

All courtroom proceedings after 12 p.m., Thursday, at the Clayton County Courthouse are canceled to allow personnel to attend the funeral. Jonesboro city officials had announced Monday that city court would hold prescheduled hearings, but have since decided to call off Thursday's calendar.

Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough said there could be more than 2,000 people at the services at First Baptist Jonesboro.

"We are concerned about overflow," he said. "The church has seating for 2,000 with 500-800 for overflow. We've had an incredible outpouring of law enforcement sympathy and support. I expect it will be well-attended."

Clayton County Police Chief Greg Porter extended his department's sympathies to the Daly family. Daly worked for the county police department before becoming a deputy in 2009.

"Although it's difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, we must remember Rick Daly the life he lived and the commitment he gave to his family, friends and law enforcement," said Porter. "My deepest sympathy goes out to his wife and family."

Porter said his officers stand ready to offer support to the sheriff's office.

"The tragic loss of Deputy Daly affects the entire law enforcement community," he said. "My department will assist the sheriff's office with any endeavor concerning their primary responsibilities at the jail, courts or warrant matters, during the funeral service."

The assistance includes traffic control, which Police Lt. Tina Daniel said, will be a "massive undertaking in Jonesboro given the number of officers expected to attend the funeral."

To better control the overwhelming number of cars on the city's narrow, mostly residential streets, the Jonesboro Police Department announced the closure of Arnold Place, and Chestnut, Burnside, Cloud, Church, Mill and College streets, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on Thursday. In addition to officers from Georgia, Kimbrough said agencies from Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky are among those expected to attend.

A 12-hour viewing for Daly at Tara Garden Chapel on North Avenue in Jonesboro will start at 9 a.m., today. The deputy will lie in-state at the church for three hours prior to the beginning of Thursday's 2 p.m., service.

His casket will be attended at all times uniformed officers, said Kimbrough.

The service is expected to be formal and ceremonial, complete with a traditional bagpipe send-off and a missing man formation using helicopters from Clayton, Fayette, DeKalb and Atlanta, he said. Flags at Clayton County government buildings are flying at half-staff in Daly's honor.

"The Atlanta Police Department is sending a fairly large number of officers, including their honor guard, bagpipe unit and horses," said Kimbrough.

The family asked Kimbrough to give a eulogy. Gov. Deal sent the family a personal letter of sympathy, and may send a representative to speak. Kimbrough will present the family with his office's Medal of Valor for Daly's meritorious service and for sacrificing his life in the line of duty.

Daly is survived his wife, Cheryl Daly; son, ToDaly, who is a lieutenant at the Fayette County Sheriff's Office; daughter, Amber Daly Wright; four grandchildren; his mother, Joyce Ormond Daly, and other relatives.

Kimbrough said they are being taken care of as they struggle through their grief. "They are still coming to grips with the loss," he said. "Rick was very central to their lives and Tois picking up the mantle of leading the family. They're being well-looked after and officers are with them around the clock to make sure they have what they need."

Following the service, the funeral procession is expected to make its way to Tara Boulevard for the drive south to Pike County for burial.

Veasna Johnathan Bun, 17, of Riverdale, has been charged in Daly's death. He is being held without bond in the Henry County Jail.