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Callahan remembered as hero a year after his death

Darlene Callahan Rogers, mother of slain Clayton County police Officer Sean Louis Callahan, attends a remembrance ceremony in his honor to mark the one-year anniversary of his death. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

Darlene Callahan Rogers, mother of slain Clayton County police Officer Sean Louis Callahan, attends a remembrance ceremony in his honor to mark the one-year anniversary of his death. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Clayton County police Chief Greg Porter embraces Darlene Callahan Rogers, mother of slain Officer Sean Louis Callahan during a remembrance ceremony Wednesday. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

RIVERDALE — Slain Clayton County police officer Sean Louis Callahan was remembered a year after his death as energetic, dedicated and hard-working.

Callahan, 24, was shot in the line of duty on Dec. 17, 2012, while answering a domestic violence call in Stockbridge. He died the next day, becoming the department’s first officer to be killed by gunfire in the line of duty.

Dozens of police officers gathered Wednesday at the North Precinct to honor Callahan’s memory and pay tribute to his mother, Darlene Callahan Rogers.

Chief Greg Porter told her Callahan’s legacy will live on.

“He left a legacy that will live forever,” Porter said. “We will never forget his service to Clayton County because he gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

Sector 1 Commander Capt. Tina Daniel said she remembers interacting with the rookie in the hallways of the precinct.

“He always seemed excited about coming to work,” she said. “We always ended the shift singing something and one day, I was singing Rhianna’s ‘Shine Bright Like a Diamond.’ He came around the corner like, ‘Who is that?’ and was trying to keep from laughing.”

Daniel said she playfully confronted him.

“Rookie? You don’t like my singing?” she said. “He got flustered and was saying, ‘Uh, yes, ma’am, uh, no, ma’am.’”

A few minutes later, she said she heard him reciting the lyrics.

“And he had a big smile on his face,” Daniel said. “He was always smiling. When you think of him, I want you to remember he wanted to make a difference. Remember his character. Remember how much he sacrificed to do the job he was called to do.”

Sgt. Michael Thomas was Callahan’s field training officer.

“It’s not hard to speak on how much he impacted the Clayton County Police Department in the short time he was here,” Thomas said. “It was hard to beat me to work but he did. At roll call, he’d be ready to go to work. He was a special guy and always had a smile on his face.”

Thomas said Callahan was energetic and loved his family, especially his grandmother.

“He will always be missed and never forgotten,” Thomas said. “Gone too soon.”

Callahan died after being shot by Tremaine Lebis, 41, at Motel 6 in Stockbridge. Lebis and his wife, Lisa Lebis, were reportedly arguing, which prompted a 911 call to police.

While police were trying to take the couple into custody, Tremaine Lebis broke free and ran around the building, said officers. When Callahan gave chase, Lebis shot him, police said. Callahan’s partner shot and killed Tremaine Lebis.

Lisa Lebis, 41, allegedly resisted officers and was arrested and charged with simple battery, obstruction of an officer, theft by receiving stolen property and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and first offender probationer. She was indicted in May on 16 counts including felony murder.

At a March bond reduction hearing, Clayton County Chief Assistant District Attorney Erman Tanjuatco listed 17 incidents in Lisa Lebis’ criminal background, going back to a 2001 arrest in Spalding County for financial transaction card fraud. Her record includes theft by taking, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, DUI, false report of a crime and probation violation.

Lebis, who has been held in Clayton County Jail, is due to go to trial in February.